The Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Keletso Rakhudu, has urged local banks to balance profit making with quality customer service.
Officially opening the second Standard Chartered bank branch in Francistown last week, the Minister said that while it is appreciated that the cost of providing banking facilities and infrastructure in a country such as Botswana could be a challenge due to its sparse population, it is equally important that banking charges are in line with the quality of service provided.
“Striking a satisfactory balance between bank profitability on one hand and the provision of good services to all sectors of the economy, on the other hand, is a challenge on which commercial banks and the Bank of Botswana must work to resolve,” he said.
Standard Chartered Bank opened its second branch in Francistown expanding the bank’s retail branches to 19 in the country.
However, Rakhudu said that Botswana prides itself with a professional banking sector and called on the banks to build on such a good foundation and provide excellent services at all times.
On a different note, the assistant minister commended the opening of the second Francistown Standard Chartered Bank branch saying that it is a sign that the bank is committed towards enhancing the economic and financial development of the country.
“It also must be appreciated that from the early days of providing basic banking services, Standard Chartered bank has now improved to offering innovative solutions that support the needs of its very broad and sometimes complex customer base including the retail and corporate sectors,” he said.
He also lauded the bank for providing products and services that benefit the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) sector, adding that such a move is a welcome development as SME’s constitute a larger portion of the business enterprise.
“SME’s are an important contributor to our economy and this is the reason why as government we are doing everything we can to create an enabling environment for doing business in Botswana,” he said.
He said government has developed supportive policy initiatives such as the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) to give local SME’s a competitive advantage wherever possible. Rakhudu also said through such empowerment policies, the government is also helping the growth of banks by creating a bankable community.
“These policies include initiatives such as CEDA and EDD which are aimed at citizen economic empowerment. While CEDA finances bankable businesses, EDD ensures government support through its buying power,” he said.
The minister concluded that government aims to review the Finance and Audit Act to align it with contemporary times and create flexibility within the legal framework to enable increased borrowing within the domestic economy thus relieving government of the burden of foreign borrowing.