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Bank tackles financial illiteracy



MASERU – PEOPLE living in rural areas are still struggling with financial literacy and inclusion, a challenge that the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) has now set out to tackle.
To build a more financially literate and inclusive nation, the Central Bank of Lesotho in collaboration with other financial sector players, embarked on a month-long campaign that saw communities in Thaba-Tseka and Mokhotlong receive information on financial issues.

According to Ephraim Moremoholo, chief corporate communications officer at the CBL, the campaign covered budgeting, savings and investing among other issues.
Moremoholo said the campaign revealed that women are some of the worst affected and that much of the population is vulnerable to Ponzi schemes due to lack of knowledge.
Last week during the Money Week Roundtable Discussion, the Governor of the CBL Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, said illegal financial schemes that include Ponzi schemes are fast gaining notoriety in Lesotho.

“Unlawful foreign exchange traders have left financial miseries in many families,” Dr Matlanyane said.
She said misconduct by some legally registered financial institutions such as money lenders and insurance companies and the emergence of mobile money has fuelled illegal schemes and other digital finance related crimes.

Matlanyane indicated that the decision to divert focus to rural areas was made because “there is a sizable production in the rural areas of diamond mining or production of wool and mohair”.
“Therefore, it is befitting to empower communities in those areas so that they can be able to manage their finances efficiently thus growing their businesses, communities and families,” she said.
She emphasized that it is equally important that the public keeps money, saves and invests in legally registered and properly supervised entities and avoid get rich quick Ponzi schemes.
Mpho Vumbukani, the CEO of Standard Lesotho Bank on behalf of the Finance Minister, indicated that there is need for the public to understand the financial sector landscape to make informed decisions.

He indicated that efforts towards financial literacy and inclusion should be intensified, starting from within financial institutions.
“We should have financial literacy and inclusion tools within our organisations and enable our people not only to make sound financial decisions but to also be able to give sound financial advice,” Vumbukani said.

He pointed to the need to encourage constructive money discussions that will tackle issues like crypto currencies to help the public differentiate the good from the harmful.

Refiloe Mpobole

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