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Bank of Botswana (BoB) Deputy Governor Andrew Motsomi has urged local banks to expand and deepen their managerial and credit management capacity and resources to enable participation in the capital market and long-term lending to businesses, including infrastructure projects and utilities. Motsomi was speaking on Wednesday when officiating at the opening of the 21st branch of Standard Chartered Bank at Mowana Park in Phakalane. The Deputy Governor said this would be one of the ways by commercial banks and other financial institutions to enhance their contribution in supporting national policies and sustained economic growth. “This is especially significant as government privatises an increasing range of activities and as the fiscal resources is increasingly constrained,” he said. Moreover, he said it is often the case that provision of financial resources by the financial sector is associated with better project execution and viability. Motsomi emphasized that it is important that local management and Boards of banks are adequately resourced and empowered to make local business decisions aligned to local needs and consistent with national policy and developmental objectives without necessarily undermining the dictates of business imperatives.“It is also desirable that the transfer of financial resources from the local operation to the parent companies, the so-called group recharges, is justifiable in terms of the calculated return on capital and invoicing of services provided,” he said.
The other important factor, Motsomi said, is the modern information and communications technology which presents a tremendous opportunity for financial institutions to enhance their level of service and increase coverage to the benefit of individuals. At the same time, Motsomi said, wider financial inclusion results in enhanced potency of macroeconomic policies, to the extent that they are transmitted or implemented through the financial sector. “Even then, there continues to be a case for the banks to participate meaningfully in improving financial literacy among the public; in particular to attract the use of their products and services while disclosing the true cost and associated risks,” he stated.While they offer convenience and easy access, Motsomi said digital and electronic services are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, related fraud and failure to process and execute transactions. He urged customers to be vigilant in using these services, saying banks should have secure and resilient systems, and be appropriately responsive to customers. The opening of the 21st Standard Chartered bank in Phakalane signals the beginning of an exciting year ahead for the bank across its Retail, Commercial and Global Banking segments according to CEO, Mpho Masupe. Masupe said they are poised to share new products and enhanced offerings, new services and greater integration across segments. He said of these are aligned to their global push to create efficiency and convenience for their clients through innovation and digitisation of their digital platforms.