The assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Fidelis Molao has retracted a statement he made last month to the effect that First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) does not charge services fee to students account.
While addressing a question from legislator Bogolo Kenewendo on March 18, 2018 Molao left Parliament shocked as he said FNBB does not charge service fees to students as per the contract for disbursing allowances to government sponsored students.
This gave an impression that the bank was unlawfully charging the students as the government pays P99,000 for the contract.
“The correct response should have been that students benefit from subsidised bank charges. While standard rate for monthly account fee is P11.25, student rate is P6,” he said adding that students are charged less than the standard fee for all banking services. When initially responding to the question from Kenewendo, Molao said he was unaware that the bank charged students any fees.
“I am not aware that students are charged for every transaction they make. If they do, we will follow up and get it explained,” he told Parliament.
Kenewendo wanted to understand the rationale behind the P99,000 monthly payment to FNBB, as well as the nature of services that the bank offered to government sponsored students.
“Are you aware that the students are paying for every transaction? You said there are
Kenewendo also inquired of the length of FNBB’s contract as well as establish for how long the bank has been levying tariffs against students’ accounts and when the contract will end. To which Molao responded thus, “The contract started in 2006 whereby all banks were invited for expression of interest for the students’ services and only FNBB responded then, and it was awarded the contract”. “As part of the benefits transferred to students from this contract, FNBB is supposed to register students and issue them ATM cards.
To this regard, FNBB has accessible funds to students through the 22 branches, three student centres and 136 ATMs with 85 in Gaborone, and 23 slim line ATMs for accessibility,” Molao said, adding that the contract indicated that, “No service charges levied to student’s accounts’’.