Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has supported plans by the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) to start regulating exorbitant over the counter withdraw charges that commercial banks are demanding from customers.
Association Executive Director Juba Sakala says the decision is progressive and will go a long way in improving and promoting financial inclusion among the citizens in the country.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today, Mr. Sakala disclosed that many people have started shunning services offered by the bank due to unreasonable charges that are attached to most transactions.
He explained that the situation has also contributed to the high rate of unbanked population which is not good for the country’s economy.
Mr. Sakala stated that currently, the country’s informal sector is bigger than the formal sector yet there is more money in circulation among the informal sector.
He noted that this is why it is important for people in the informal sector, to start saving with banks, adding that their savings can help in growing the country’s economy because banks lend out the money to individuals, firms, as well as government for projects.
He added that if citizens are encouraged to save they will also access loans from the financial institutions, to grow their businesses and ultimately contribute to the country’s poverty reduction.
And Mr. Sakala pointed out that in as much as citizens especially those from the informal sector, are willing to keep their money in banks, they are discouraged with the charges.
He stated that this is why it is important for commercial banks to respond to the complaints made by consumers and ensure that their services are improved on and are not exploitative.
When contacted for a comment Bankers Association of Zambia Chief Executive Officer Leonard Mwanza said the association is currently engaged in discussions with the Central Bank on the matter.
Recently Minster of Finance Margret Mwanakatwe told Parliament that BOZ was in the process to start regulating exorbitant withdrawal charges by commercial banks following complaints of exploitation from members of the public