Mmegi Online :: The one plus one of finance matters
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Last Updated
Friday 23 June 2017, 16:05 pm.
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The one plus one of finance matters

Non–Bank financial institutions regulatory authority (NBFIRA) this week embarked on a seven-day financial literacy education week in Gaborone and in Francistown. As the nation grapples with all sorts of financially related social problems, the Consumer Watchdog front liner, Richard Harriman spoke to Mmegi correspondent, BOITSHEPO MAJUBE and highlights the importance of financial education that NBFIRA will be embarking on this week.
By Boitshepo Majube Fri 21 Mar 2014, 16:13 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: The one plus one of finance matters








Business Week: Do you think NBFIRA Financial Literacy Week is going to benefit Batswana, if so explain in detail?

Harriman: Yes, I think it really will. I think the more financial education we get the better. As a nation we are very often naive in financial matters, often falling for scams and abuse by moneylenders, fraudsters and crooks who exploit our ignorance. Take the example of the Eurextrade Ponzi scheme that operated in Botswana up until last year. Countless people “invested” their money in that scheme believing they could earn fantastic rates of interest of nearly 3 percent per day. They lost fortunes, often losing everything they had. That was ignorance and naiveté and the only weapons we have against those failings is education.

Campaigns like this one from NBFIRA are very welcome and I think they deserve our thanks for taking the message out into our communities.

Business Week: What are the most troubling financial violations in the country?

Harriman: Although the micro-lending industry is now being aggressively regulated by NBFIRA there is still a long way to go in clearing up that industry. There are still lenders taking people’s ATM cards, still unregistered loan sharks in operation and still lenders who refuse to give customers copies of the agreement they sign and who refuse even to give receipts.

Just as worrying are the credit and hire purchase plans offered by stores. We hear endless stories of people simply not understanding how these plans work, often leading them into financial hardship or even financial ruin

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as a result.

Business Week: Is the timing right for this education?

Harriman: The timing is always right for financial education.

Business Week: Batswana usually don’t take financial education seriously or don’t have interest in the financial matters; do you think they will adhere to NBFIRA’s call?

Harriman: I think many people will. There will always be some people who are consciously ignorant, reckless or abusive but I really think that many people are concerned about their money and would welcome greater education.

Business Week: Don’t you think it would be better if Batswana were taught financial matters vigorously at an early age?

Harriman: Absolutely. Personally I’d like to see financial literacy as part of the curriculum in schools to ensure that when young people leave school they are prepared for their inevitable lifetime relationship with financial institutions.

Business Week: What is your advice to Batswana concerning financial matters?

Harriman: Be cautious. Read contracts before you sign them. If you don’t understand them, don’t sign them. Never sign an agreement that you haven’t been able to take away and read overnight or to show to someone you trust for their advice. Never, ever allow yourself to be pressurised to sign something in a hurry.

You can also turn for assistance to many sources of advice. Read newspapers and material online about financial matters and never be afraid to ask for advice from trusted friends, family members or independent experts. Remember that you can always contact Consumer Watchdog for support and advice. It doesn’t cost you a thing.

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