By Nation Reporter
Bank of Zambia (BOZ) has warned that it will not hesitate to put in place regulatory measures to protect financial consumers if financial institutions continue to act in ways that seem to defeat the Central Bank’s measures aimed at reducing the cost of borrowing.
Speaking during the opening of United Bank of Africa (UBA), BOZ Regional Director – North Fabian Hara said the Bank attached great importance to matters related to consumer protection.
Mr. Hara said the coming on board of UBA to open a second branch on the Copperbelt spelt out BOZ expectations of expansion as such developments would foster competition for various players in the Banking sector who were offering various products and services.
He said the opening of the UBA would reduce the cost of banking services and it would enable customers have a wide range of banking services.
Mr. Hara said the BOZ had a strategic objective of enhancing the state of financial services in the country.
He said UBA branch expansion programmes played an important role as it increased access to financial products and brought to the door a number of people.
“BOZ expects that expansion should foster improved products on the markets and solidify inclusion of creation of jobs,” Mr Hara said.
He said the current economic challenges required consented efforts of relevant stakeholders to be addressed.
Mr Hara appealed to UBA to roll out their range of products and reduce financial illiteracy by playing an active role in educating emerging businesses for sustainable long-time relationship.
“Banks should play a greater role in preparing and providing information to the small and medium enterprises by providing basic bankable requisites to make customers to access credit facilities,” Mr.Hara said.
He advised macro and medium size enterprises obtaining finances from banks to honour their obligations and pay back under the agreed terms of conditions.
ABU Chief Executive Officer Staley Ugwueze said the Banks’ Board was optimistic that the economies of Africa and that of Zambia would rebound from the current economic down turn.
Speaking in an interview, Mr.Ugwueze said the current shift in dynamics in the economies of the world happened every ten years and it was an opportune time for Africa to invest for the future.
He said the UBA had strong positive attitude and it was for that reason it had continued to expand its financial business by supporting SMEs.
Mr Ugwueze said the challenges of Africa should be turned into opportunities by diversifying and putting up industries that would produce products for exports unlike the trend that raw products were being exported and jobs created to those importing countries.
He said the Copperbelt being the hub of mining had great potential, hence the Bank’s decision to have products that could be accessed by all players in all sectors of mining, agriculture and construction.