Zambia: Financial info scheme on the cards

Nawa Mutumweno – A financial education national strategy is being developed to facilitate sufficient information in the financial sector on various aspects, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has revealed.

Speaking at the commemoration of the World Consumer Rights’ Day in Lusaka recently, the central bank’s governor Caleb Fundanga said a dedicated working group comprising stakeholders from the public and private sectors have already made substantial progress in developing the national strategy.

“Our expectation is that the draft National Strategy will be ready for discussion by the end of the year,” he said.

BoZ will continue to ensure customer protection in the financial sector is promoted through the publication on a quarterly basis of financial statements and timely disclosure of charges, he added.

The bank has put in place several interventions such as the publication of financial statements and disclosure of charges for commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions with a view to protect customers in the market.

Financial institutions should avail as much information as possible on various products and services they offer to the public. Financial literacy is imperative as it gives consumers the skills to understand and evaluate the information they receive.

“Together, consumer protection and financial literacy set clear rules of engagement between  financial firms and their retail customers and helps narrow the knowledge gap between consumers and their financial institutions,” Dr. Fundanga elaborated.

It is important to introduce policies that provide comparable information to consumers, increase awareness of market conditions, reduce consumer search cost and clarify hidden costs.

“This will enhance consumer’s capability to understand financial products and services and exercise their rights and responsibilities as financial consumers. It should also empower consumers to make wise and informed decisions about their finances and plan their financial needs over a life time,” he said.