The First Mortgage, a company involved with mortgage and planning consultancy, will host a seminar that will focus on issues of debt management, among other things, as more and more Batswana are falling in a debt trap.
The seminar, to be held on August 9 at the Phakalane Golf Estate, will bring together employees, finance managers, HR managers, investment advisors, employer associations, investment clubs and policy makers amongst others.
“Batswana are infamous for spiraling high debt and mishandling their personal finances due to spending beyond their salary capacities and living unnecessary luxury lives,” said Boineelo Bolele, the Director of First Mortgage, in an interview with The Sunday Standard.
Bolele said that the debt trap has been wielding indiscriminately and has claimed even the most acclaimed politicians, including some leaders of the opposition, whose furniture had to be attached by sheriffs to settle debts.
“This is not uncommon in a regular Tswana society where it has become an everyday event for furniture companies to repossess their items from those who fail to settle the accounts they established through hire purchase,” she said.
The move to educate Batswana on issues of savings and financial management comes at a time when the country is expected to embark on a repeated interest rate increase over the remainder of the year in an attempt to slow-down rising inflationary pressures in the country. For the best part of this year inflationary pressures have been attributed to food and fuel pricesÔÇölatter having pushed prices in other goods and services.
“Ironically saving is not a new phenomenon in Botswana; years before, money was introduced as a measure of value, homesteads had a grain storage facility for prolonged droughts,” said Bolele, adding, “Investment has been engrained in the Batswana culture as ordinary folks have always invested in animal husbandry and agricultural projects for subsistence and income generation.”
Recently the Bank of Botswana raised concern through the media about the disturbing rise in household debt.
Bolele, who appears to be very well informed about the buying and spending culture in Botswana, concurred, saying that if Batswana are to let personal debt spiral out of control, they face the consequences of losing their families, their marriages and, in some cases, their health.
The Bank of Botswana warned about the resultant poor performance at work as debt even affects children’s performance at school.
The problem of debt is noted to be more serious among young women who might turn to sugar daddies, thereby increasing the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, which is already another challenge Botswana is facing.
First mortgage offers counselling and training programmes to Batswana so as to help them regain control of their personal finances before the debt saga turns catastrophic.
The National Credit Regulations from South Africa, a country which has experienced longer exposure to debt first hand, will bring representatives to participate at the seminar and to share tools to apply at personal level to avoid debt.
The seminar will also focus on issues of transferring from debt to wealth creation, using investment vehicles such as unit trusts, stocks, insurance, offshore, balancing investment portfolio, private pension and financial planning.
“First Mortgage believes debt control should be mastered at an individual level for a corporation to succeed. After all, an employee who is struggling with financial issues is as much a risk to the employer as he is to himself,” Bolele said.
The seminar will also feature local presenters on investment opportunities and sharing experiences by those who have seen their money grow through these wealth creation vehicles.
Much sort after Malcolm Larsen, the CEO of Myvesta South Africa, will be one of the starred speakers.
Larsen, who has a degree in Building Economics & Quantity Surveying from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, is co-owner of Myvesta South Africa, a consumer consultancy and debt management company that assists consumers with issues regarding debt using the National Credit Act as a reference point.
Myvesta has been successful in negotiating with creditors to stop the repossession of a number of properties and vehicles. His current project is the launch of www.debtselfhelp.co.za which is a website developed with the sole purpose of providing guides to allow consumers to get themselves out of debt, stop repossessions and dealing with court orders.
Currently, Larsen consults on preparing multi million rand contracts in the mining industry.
For more information, please contact Boi on 72537788 or on [email protected]