Stakeholders urged to tackle over-indebtedness


The private sector has been implored to assist government tackle the over-indebtedness currently plaguing the country.

The Minister of Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse made the call at the Bayport Financial Services’ fifth anniversary celebrations on Wednesday evening.

The minister said consumers’ ignorance and recklessness to ruthless on the part of certain providers has left the country with a problem of over-indebtedness.

Seretse noted that despite government making great strides to achieve economic development through natural resources, not all citizens enjoy the standard of living and instead turn to credit providers for assistance.

“This is a problem government cannot solve on its own. We look to all stakeholders, consumers and credit providers included to play their part in this regard. I therefore applaud Bayport for their efforts to help address this,” he said.

He added that Bayport has dedicated their services to tackling the over-indebtness problem through their financial literacy programme and actively raising awareness against it.

The International Monetary Fund has also confirmed the uncomfortable level of indebtness in the country, which trended at about P15 billion for unsecured household debt as of April 2015.

This figure also represented about 70 percent of the entire P21 billion debts that included ring-fenced loan products such as mortgages and vehicle financing.

“Government is doing it can to advance the economic and the social wellbeing of our citizens. We view responsible and ethical credit providers as important partners on this journey.”

When narrating their journey thus far, Bayport’s executive chairman, Father Maphongo said although the journey has not been all rosy, with trials and tribulations along the way, they have managed to triumph.

Maphongo said when they started their business they secured a facility with Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), which augmented an initial capital injection of P500, 000.00.

“I must admit that we were faced with stiff competition from well established players who were a threat to the survival of our business and all the banks that existed that time did not see our vision,” he said.

Maphongo urged local businesses to invest locally as it would help create more jobs, which would in turn ensure that other businesses thrive.

“We are busy investing local money outside and creating jobs in foreign lands where our unemployed Batswana have no access to those jobs and we in return crying for FDI’s.

We want those FDI’s, but equally we have to build confidence within and ensure local organisations are adequately resourced and build capacity,” he said.

Maphongo applauded the American Investment Arm OPIC for offering them a loan. He said government has also has played an important role in empowering citizens by allowing deduction codes to prop up indigenous Batswana businesses.Bayport started its operations 10 years ago as Money Quest Investments, which was later changed to Bayport Financial Services in 2010 through the assistance of Paul Silverman.

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