Authority appear before PAC
Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Oaitse Ramasedi has admitted the authority does not regulate micro lenders interest rates.
Addressing the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday, Ramasedi explained the rates were controlled by the market.
The revelation prompted PAC Chairperson, Major Pius Mokgware to ask the CEO if he believes it should be left this way.
He noted that most Batswana cannot afford to re-pay loans because of ‘ridiculous’ 30 percent interest rates charged by micro lenders.
In response, Ramasedi attributed the problem to people living beyond their means and supplementing their salaries with loans. He said it was important for people to live within their means and realise that loans are not income.
It was a response that did not go down well with Mokgware.
“I don’t think you understand. Salaries are very low. Do you know that a government driver who earns P3, 000, has eight children, whose first born is unemployed and has a kid of their own to take care of. It is not like they live beyond their means, they do not have an alternative! This is killing Batswana and something needs to be done,” blasted the Member of Parliament for Gabane-Mankgodi.
“In some cases these Micro Lenders will keep on deducting money even when clients finished paying,” added Mokgware, who demanded to know how NBFIRA helps in these matters.
Ramasedi admitted he was aware of such cases, adding the Authority ensures the offending lender refunds the wronged client.
On another issue, Mokgware noted there are cases of retired government employees who went for two years without receiving their money.
He asked the CEO how regularly they monitor the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and to what extent.
Ramasedi said they intervened and appointed a Statutory Manager to manage the entity after learning about ‘some irregularities’.