‘Mo­bile money sys­tem a game changer’

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

CEN­TRAL Bank of Le­sotho (CBL) Gover­nor Retšelisit­soe Mat­lanyane says the en­trance of tele­coms op­er­a­tors in the mo­bile money trans­fer sec­tor had been a game changer with up to 70 per­cent of Ba­sotho now able to ac­cess fi­nan­cial ser­vices.

Dr Mat­lanyane made the re­marks while of­fi­cially launch­ing the Global Money Week 2015 com­mem­o­ra­tions on Mon­day in Maseru.

Global Money Week is an in­ter­na­tional public aware­ness cam­paign de­signed to help con­sumers bet­ter man­age their per­sonal fi­nances.

The cam­paign is aimed at im­prov­ing fi­nan­cial aware­ness and lit­er­acy through ac­tiv­i­ties that give public in­for­ma­tion on all fi­nance-re­lated is­sues such as bank­ing, in­sur­ance, mi­cro­fi­nance and mo­bile money.

Run­ning from 13 to 25 April 2015, the cam­paign will also see of­fi­cials from the CBL and other stake­hold­ers in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor vis­it­ing 80 schools in the Maseru dis­trict and mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Mat­lanyane, the CBL is sup­port­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in­clu­sive of mo­bile net­work com­pa­nies who have in­te­grated fi­nan­cial ser­vices into their op­er­a­tions to en­sure the un­banked pop­u­lace can ac­cess and trans­fer money.

“A large part of the pop­u­la­tion had for a long time been ex­cluded fi­nan­cially, but re­cent statis­tics have shown an im­prove­ment in that sec­tor,” said Dr Mat­lanyane.

“Close to 70 per­cent now have ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices, in­clud­ing the in­sur­ance sec­tor, which has al­lowed ac­ces­si­bil­ity for peo­ple who do not hold bank ac­counts.

“Mo­bile net­work com­pa­nies have be­come im­por­tant play­ers in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor and we de­pend on their tech­nol­ogy. The CBL is sup­port­ing them to en­sure their prod­ucts are safe for con­sumers.”

The apex bank chief added that the main in­ten­tion of the Global Money Week 2015 cam­paign was to raise aware­ness of the im­por­tance of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion and in­clu­sion for chil­dren and youth whose minds, she said, can eas­ily grasp the ini­tia­tives.

Dr Mat­lanyane said the CBL is also ad­vo­cat­ing for its long-term pro­gramme, the Fi­nan­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Strat­egy, to be in­cor­po­rated in the cur­ricu­lums of pri­mary and sec­ondary schools.

The more com­pre­hen­sive ed­u­ca­tion pro- gramme, Dr Mat­lanyane said, is meant to en­sure fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy for young peo­ple so that they don’t strug­gle with debt which has neg­a­tive reper­cus­sions on their devel­op­ment and well-be­ing.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the CBL’S in­terim Steer­ing Com­mit­tee of Fi­nan­cial Ed­u­ca­tion, Ma­malala Se­mat­lane, said the de­ci­sion to lobby for the in­clu­sion of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion into schools’ cur­ricu­lum came af­ter the re­al­i­sa­tion that many peo­ple were still drown­ing in debt be­cause they lacked the knowl­edge to man­age their money.

“We feel that in­cor­po­rat­ing fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion into schools would give chil­dren a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the ap­pro­pri­ate way to han­dle money from an early age,” Ms Se­mat­lane said.

“We will have a con­sul­tant who is go­ing to iden­tify what needs to be in­tro­duced in the cur­rent cur­ricu­lum to al­low for this.

“We have re­alised that many peo­ple are cur­rently drown­ing in loans which they can no longer af­ford to pay back.

Th­ese prob­lems are mostly caused by lack of knowl­edge on how to man­age one’s fi­nances, es­pe­cially when peo­ple bor­row money from in­for­mal loan schemes which have very high in­ter­est rates.”

CBL Gover­nor Retšelisit­soe Mat­lanyane

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