FRANCISTOWN: The banking industry anticipates improved business through government’s Economic Stimulus Package (ESP), the chief executive officer of First National Bank of Botswana, Steven Bogatsu, said.
Bogatsu told the bank’s customers during a breakfast meeting in Francistown on Wednesday that if ESP could be implemented well, it had the potential to benefit individuals, businesses and boost the struggling economy of Botswana.
He said businesses and key stakeholders in the banking industry remained confident that their engagement and dialogue with government would improve the management of ESP projects. He encouraged the bank’s customers to invest in the tourism, agriculture and construction sectors because they were the focus of the ESP.
“As the business community you have shown commitment to reviving the region and country through the vision of making “Francistown an investment centre of vibrancy by the year 2022,” he said. Bogatsu said the geographical positioning of Francistown gave it a comparative advantage over other places in Botswana because it was gateway to other countries.
He said the banking industry was going through difficult times characterised by low interest rates, tight liquidity constraints, moratorium on bank charges and toughening competition. Industry leaders acknowledge that the liquidity conditions might remain tighter in the short term but will ease in the longer term and thus cost of funding and pricing on new loans will be expected to decrease.
“That is why there has been more active management of liquidity positions,” he said. “FNB has not been immune to the challenging times of low interest rates and tight liquidity constraints. However this should be seen as an opportunity to do things differently.”
He added that business people could relate well with the conditions he have mentioned to them and finding different ways to conduct business in their respective companies. The tough economic conditions were a challenge to all businesses, including FNBB, to be more focused and deliver on their strategies.
He said FNBB was the first bank to admit that its customers had become more sophisticated and there was an urgent need to align their expectations to innovative offerings.
“Today’s session is one such a dialogue based relationship with you as our customers,” he added. “One of our strategic focus is to continuously build and strengthen customer relationship to deliver outstanding proactive service to all customers.”
Bogatsu said business climate demanded that the bank engaged its customers in new, creative and more exciting ways to do banking as it also important to their partners, suppliers and employees.