Monday, July 08, 2013

Financial services are blood to the economy - Gondwe
By Misheck Wangwe in Mpongwe
Sat 29 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

BANK of Zambia governor Dr Michael Gondwe says the country desires favourable financial services that will significantly contribute to the fight against poverty and reduce income inequality between the rich and the poor.

Speaking when he opened the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) Mpongwe branch yesterday, Dr Gondwe said that financial services play an important role in improving income-generating opportunities and overall improved living conditions among households.

He said better access to finance not only increases economic growth, but also helps to fight poverty.

"The role that financial services play in an economy is sometimes compared to the significant role that blood plays in the human body. It should be stressed that no economy can function efficiently without good financial products and services," Dr Gondwe said.

He said the opening of the branch by NATSAVE in Mpongwe was expected to spur economic growth and contribute to ease the access to financial services which had for a long time been a hindrance to economic development in the district.

Dr Gondwe said the bank had continued to implement the Financial Sector Development Plan that would address various weaknesses in the Zambian financial system, among them being the low financial intermediation and limited access to finance.

"BoZ has incorporated financial inclusion as part of its current strategic plan in which it has undertaken to achieve financial inclusion to 50 per cent of the population by 2015 from the level of 37.3 per cent. The rationale for this objective is that it responds to the need to bring the poor into the financial system and thereby avail them the opportunities to financial access and growth," Dr Gondwe said.

NATSAVE board vice-chairperson Fred Siame said the bank had in the recent past opened Chavuma branch in North-Western Province and Kalabo in Western Province, and plans were underway to open the Lufwanyama branch next month, all in an effort to meet the financial needs of the people in rural areas.

Siame said the bank was confident that the NATSAVE branches that had been opened would stimulate the districts to achieve the much needed development.

Bank managing director Cephas Chabu said the bank's resolve was to continue making a difference in the lives of the people both in the rural and urban areas by banking the unbanked and creating access to financial services through the opening of branches and delivering affordable financial products.

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