Kedikilwe decries inadequate investment
First National Bank of Botswana this week officially opened their multi-million pula head office located at Gaborone’s Central Business District.
Vice President Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe who officially opened the head office hailed the bank’s efforts as he said the opening added to the several milestones that the bank has achieved since its inception 22 years ago.
While he praised the bank for having been at the forefront of the banking industry with its diverse and innovative products, Kedikilwe said the banking sector in Botswana was faced with a number of challenges that prevent banks from investing adequately in human capital, payment infrastructure, public education and other social projects.
“This explains, in part, the comparatively low operating and infrastructure costs which do not necessarily reflect banking sector high productivity and efficiency.
I am aware that FNBB has a Foundation that finances social responsibility projects.
Nevertheless, the social projects financed so far, are so very small when compared with what is in place in other countries of the region, particularly where your bank is headquartered.”
The Vice president said Batswana need to be exposed to the intricacies of banking, such as treasury management, wholesale and investment banking, in a bid to developing a pool and supply of relevant skills in the country.
He said this will ensure that citizens are adequately prepared for meaningful roles in the leadership and management of banks.
“The skills deficit could also partly explain a growing trend of migration of core banking activities, such as Information Technology support functions, to regional group centres.
While cost synergies and economies of scale generally yield positive efficiency benefits to banks, this consideration should not be at the expense of local capacity building and skills development as well as job creation.
It is therefore highly desirable for banks to devote a reasonable portion of their budgets to training and skills development; even academic training for deserving staff, as this would lessen the Government burden of financing the education sector.”
Kedikilwe also outlined issues of payment systems, financial intermediation, bank charges and financial literacy as some of the industry’s challenges.
On a positive note, Kedikilwe commended the banks for their growing partnerships with mobile cell-phone operators in providing financial services, especially domestic remittances, sms alert and payments for utilities and other services.
“As we celebrate this achievement, I wish to urge financial institutions to strengthen their security systems to guard against incidents of fraud where customers lose money from their accounts.
This should be seriously addressed to retain the confidence of customers.
I am impressed that FNBB continues to educate customers on vigilance and anti-fraud measures,” he concluded.