THIS year’s Money Month campaign, which is championed by the Central Bank of Lesotho, will target multiple community groups to empower them on financial literacy.
The month- long campaign, which was officially launched this week, will among other groups, target factory workers to equip them with basic financial skills.
The campaign which is done in collaboration with a different stakeholders within the financial sector, is an annual public awareness initiative designed to equip financial consumers with the necessary skills to manage their financial resources efficiently.
During the campaign which is made up of several activities, members of the public are taught among others on how to manage money, become wise consumers of financial services, manage risks and emotions associated with money. This year’s theme is “Money Matters Matter.”
According to the chairperson of the Financial Education Sector Committee (FESC) Ephraim Moremoholo, factory workers can do with tips on how to take better care of their money after their recent industry-wide increase in their salaries.
Starting from September this year, factory workers received a pay raise of over 30 percent when government resolved to revise upwards the minimum wage structure of the sector.
“As part of the campaign, we will be visiting factory workers both in Maseru and Maputsoe to equip them on financial well-being especially now that their salaries have been significantly improved,” Mr Moremoholo said at the launch.
Other community groups which the campaign will focus on include school learners, youths, women associations, the business community, farmers, local authorities, public officials and pensioners among others.
Mr Moremoholo said tertiary students have a tendency to invest their stipends which sometimes come in a lump some form, into some on-line-based financial schemes which do not always yield returns.
“When they lose those investments, they turn to parents for bailout and that causes unnecessary burden on the parents. So we will be holding interactive sessions with them to deliberate on that.”
Entering into its sixth year, the campaign which began in Maseru as a week-long project, started spreading its reach to other parts of the country in 2017, where major highlights took place in the Mokhotlong district. This year from 22 to 27 October, the outreach activities are going to Thaba Tseka, another mountainous area.
For her part, acting CBL governor ‘Mathabo Makenete said it is crucial to strive for financial literacy as there are emerging illegal financial schemes threatening to rob off people’s money.
“New and undesirable elements in the financial sector are now prevalent. These include but are not limited to the threat of cybercrime, the ever-increasing number of illegal financial institutions, pyramid schemes and the unlicensed foreign exchange traders to mention but a few.
“As a result, failure to handle these new complexities diligently could undoubtedly weaken public confidence on the financial sector and undermine the financial inclusion agenda and the essence of rapid economic growth and development that our country badly needs.
“The adverse effects of these illegal activities within the financial sector can impose a heavy burden on the public, as the society loses their hard-earned resources and savings and as financial institutions commit resources to preventative measures, often the cost of such being passed on to innocent customers.”
On the impact of the campaign to date, CBL’s Teboho Senthebane indicated that the campaign has successfully incorporated financial literacy into the secondary schools’ education curriculum and is currently being piloted in 96 schools around the country.
She said the move is intended to introduce financial skills to children at any early age so they can grow up better informed on how to manage their finances.
For his part, managing director of Metropolitan Lesotho, believes while the campaign has had a positive impact to date, its approach needs to be careful in order to avoid a situation whereby its activities could unwittingly promote certain financial institution’s interests over others’.