Government has observed that the high interest rates being charged by commercial banks are not in tandem with the reduced inflation rates in the country.
Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Felix Mutati said bank interest rates are currently challenging despite the good macro economic policies put in place by government.
Mr. Mutati said this when he officiated at the official launch of Access Bank Zambia in Lusaka today.
He however challenged the bank to ensure that it attracts Zambians that are currently not bankable adding that only 10 percent of the Zambian population are bankable while the majority are not in the banking sector.
Mr. Mutati also observed that the coming of Access Bank Zambia to the country’s banking sector will help address various challenges the sector is faced with as it will compete with other existing banks to provide quality banking services to the public.
The minister also urged the bank to aggressively bring competition into the banking market in order to help improve product variety and access to unique banking services that are beyond a traditional bank.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mutati has further challenged Access Bank Zambia to open its doors to small and medium scale entrepreneurs in order to enhance their growth and contribution to the growth of the country’s economy.
He assured the bank of continued government support adding that the entry of the bank into the country’s economy has further attracted other African investors from other countries who have expressed interest to invest in the country.
And speaking at the function, Access Bank plc deputy managing director Herbert Wigwe said Access bank Zambia is aiming at improving the quality of banking services in the country.
Mr. Wigwe said his bank intends to develop and implement financial consultant services with specific and unique products targeted at various segments in the economy.
He said this will be achieved by leveraging the international partnerships the Access Bank group has built with other international financial institutions and multi lateral agencies to the advantage of the Zambian economy and banking sector.
Mr. Wigwe also observed that there is need for a financial stimulus to help grow economies in developing nations adding that his bank will also help bring foreign investment to help grow Zambia’s economy.
He disclosed that Access Bank Zambia will also introduce gender empowerment programmes in Zambia under SME’s to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
And Access Bank Zambia limited managing director David Chewe said the issuance of a license to enable the bank operate in the country represents trust, loyalty and commitment to render world class financial services to Zambia and south/central African markets.
Access Bank plc is a Nigerian bank which ranks in the top six commercial banks of that country with a capital base of 1.5 billion dollars and has been in existence for close to two decades.
Access Bank Zambia limited was today officially issued with a license by the bank of Zambia to operate as a commercial bank in the country. The bank has 25 percent equity in vestment by Zambian investors.