Govt for Improved Rural Banking Services

Government says it is committed to improve banking services in remote areas of the country as one way of improving of living standards of all Malawians.

Responding to questions by legislators in parliament recently, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe said the ministry is consulting different sectors to improve the banking services especially in rural areas.

Gondwe said government plans to improve banking services in the country by among other things ensuring it increases the visibility of commercial banks in remote areas in a bid to have more people access such services.

“We are consulting with the banking sector to go deep into the rural areas. We are working tirelessly with the central bank to make that happen,” Gondwe assured in the august house.

However, the country’s banks regulator, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) said they would complement the minister’s sentiments by conducting countrywide awareness campaigns, mapping the concentration of the banking services and also increasing the banking percentage.

RBM’s Director of Communications and Protocol Mbane Ngwira said that the awareness campaign would inform stakeholders of all the various categories of banking services including; mobile banking, internet banking and urgent banking among others.

“We did a mapping exercise of the whole country to indicate the concentration of banking services. We have our quarterly meetings with the commercial banks and with that mapping, we engaged the banks to have commitment to the uncovered areas.

“As a regulator, we always emphasize that for a bank to go into an area, their services should be in tandem with the cost and economic sense in terms of profit. For instance, a bank would not go to an area whose population is low, it will obviously not make any economic sense,” Ngwira said.

Members of Parliament from Zomba Chingale, Zomba Chisi and Thyolo Thava on Tuesday, expressed their dissatisfaction with services offered by some commercial banks, saying people walk long distances to access banking services, hence the call to government to intervene on the matter.