Money experts plan to encourage savings culture

NKOATE THAMAE

The Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) has said financial institutions will empower the public to be wary of fraudulent money-making schemes which rob people of their hard-earned money.
CBL Governor, Dr Rets’elisitsoe Matlanyane made the announcement while launching Money Month on Monday this week, under the theme “Learn, Save, Earn”.
The theme, she explained, means the public should learn to manage their finances; they have to save for the future and they should earn for themselves which means they have to work for their money.

She noted that in time the country would have an educated society that understands their finances, rights and obligations and knows how to read and understand contracts.
Dr Matlanyane indicated that Lesotho’s economy cannot thrive as expected if the country’s citizens do not have a culture of saving. She pointed out that they are faced with a huge task of promoting a savings culture as well as the need to invest to empower consumers and build trust between financial institutions and consumers.
She further highlighted that it is vital for financial institutions to be transparent to build that trust.

The central bank boss added, “threats to Lesotho’s economy include high level of consumer debt, low savings and high rate of get-rich-quick schemes.”
Dr Matlanyane said to overcome the challenges, the public should do business with legal institutions, and learn about financial laws that govern financial institutions, rights, responsibilities and obligations of consumers as well as scrutinise contracts.
Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL) Chairperson, Mpho Vumbukani, speaking at the same event said through the initiative, they are creating awareness in order to have a financially included nation.

He urged parents to ensure children are taken through financially inclusive programme at a young age.
Vumbukani urged bankers to reach financially excluded parts of society, which is mostly found in hard-to-reach areas of the country, adding that their intention is to ensure that every Mosotho makes use of their services in order to contribute to the development of the country’s economy.
He further highlighted that they are aware that the world is becoming more and more digitised, therefore digital education would be key in order for them to teach the public to embrace the benefits of the digital era.

Vumbukani added they believe that the campaign is a great investment, as a result they are committed in ensuring its success.
While Money Month Campaign targets every Mosotho living in the 10 districts of the country, major highlights of the event will take place in the District of Quthing from April 7 to 14, 2019.
The Money Week Campaign in Quthing will target various audiences such as school learners, youth, women associations, the business community, farmers, local authorities, public officials, pensioners and the general public.
CBL, which started operating on January 2, 1980, was established as the Lesotho Monetary Authority in 1978, under the Lesotho Monetary Authority Act of 1978.

Matlanyane further explained that the global campaign is currently celebrated in more than 140 countries including Lesotho under 2019 Theme “Learn, Save, Earn” in one week, Lesotho decided to celebrate the event over the period of one month to ensure wider publicity and coverage.

Matlanyane pointed out that learning about personal finance is very critical.

She made a typical example where consumers generally have limited resources and skills to understand the complexities of financial products and services as well as their rights and responsibilities.

“These compelling consumer issues, among others, include the inability of our public to evaluate the appropriateness of financial products in relation to their personal circumstances, predatory borrowing and lending practices, high level of consumer debt, proliferation of pyramid schemes and financial scams,” Matlanyane said.

Matlanyane also emphasised that promoting a savings culture is dependent on an individual and that a low saving culture has been identified by both the National Strategic Development Plan and Financial Development Strategy as one of the major impediments to financial inclusion in Lesotho.

The campaign intends to equip consumers with knowledge, relevant skills and proper behaviours to respond meaningfully to current and future monetary and financial challenges facing the country.

“We move from money week to money month, there is a reason for that because we noted the importance of the event,” Vumbukani added.

Tumelo Kepa, on behalf of Lesotho Insurance Association, indicated that insurance for many years has not been good to many consumers or clients which gave insurance very bad name.

“Now we are given the opportunity to share with the nation and everyone that insurance has been misunderstood,” Kepa explained.

He said insurance is now emphasising financial literacy and financial inclusion because they want to see all their clients getting their insurance products and benefiting out of them.

Kepa further explained that in insurance, they have a lot of products which are tailormade solutions to their clients. Kepa concluded that insurance is there for a purpose and to help clients with their insurance needs.

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