By Nation Reporter
MINISTER of Finance Alexander Chikwanda says Zambian participation in the financial sector is critical as most banks are owned by foreigners who take away a lot of money from Zambia.
Mr Chikwanda said Zambian participation in the financial sector was good for the economy.
He was speaking at the official launch of the Bayport Financial Services deposit centre in Lusaka.
“Zambian participation is good for the economy. There are a lot of foreign exchange leakages. They have the right to take away profits they make in Zambia but it goes out of our country. If we take Zambians to participate significantly and increase their stay, we will reduce foreign exchange outflow, thereby saving the economy of Zambia,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda also said participation in the deposit markets provided access to more cost effective funding which led to cheaper financial products for Zambians.
He said Government wished to see improved quality of services and contributions towards bringing the average cost of financial products down as new players entered the industry.
He said saving and investments would help build the backbone of growth of deposits.
Mr Chikwanda challenged Bayport to extend its deposit centres to other parts of Zambia.
“It is my sincere hope that Bayport can help provide affordable and accessible financial services to Zambian citizens from all walks of life,” he said.
He further commended Bayport for employing Zambian citizens of whom a majority were graduates.
Speaking earlier, Bayport chief executive officer Justin Chola said the company contributed K57.3 million to the Treasury through tax and pay as you earn in 2015.
Mr Chola said Bayport had built a business with a total asset base of K1.6 billion.
He said Bayport was a Zambian company with 340 Zambian employees.
And Bank of Zambia director non-banking financial institutions supervision department director Visscher Bhuku said the central bank remained committed to addressing financial exclusion challenges.
Mr Bhuku said the bank had embraced policy reforms to build an adequate financial infrastructure which would support the development and deepening of financial sector.
“These include innovative models such as agent banking and credit information sharing aimed at scaling up financial inclusion,’’ he said.