By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
FINANCIAL Service providers should assist in reducing cash transactions by increasing usage of the digital platforms while developing products for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs).
Covid-19 has amplified usage of cash thereby leading to increased use of the services, according to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Director Bank Supervision, Gladys Mphosha.
Ms Mphosha stated that technology in financial delivery was underpinned by lower costs and economist of scale which could enhnce effeciency and expand the reach to previously unbanked areas .
“Banks should seize the opportunity and opptimise the digital era we are living in ,” she said yesterday in Lusaka during the opening of the United Bank for Africa (UBA)’ Lewanika branch.
Ms Mphosha urged the financial providers to pay attention to understanding the business opportunities in the market by providing solutions especially for SMEs.
She said SMEs were key drivers of economic growth while women had been disadvantaged for a long time .
Ms Mphosha said the central bank would also continue to encourage financial providers to take advantage of opportunities arising from general positive economic outlook on account of improving macroeconomics environment.
“Access to finance remains a priority objective for both Government and BoZ .BoZ will continue to implement and monitor various regulatory measures aimed at achieving these objective and enhancing the efficiency of the banking sector and the wider economy,” she said .
UBA Board Chairperson,Tukiya Kankasa, said enterprises should capitalise and ride on UBA Zambia’s extensive touch points to conduct their businesses, as it opens Lewanika branch.
Dr Mabula said the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents an important opportunities for boosting intra-African trade and promoting economic development.
“Our presence in 20 African countries strategically positions us to facilitate trade and connect Zambia to the rest of the continent. I thus urge businesses to capitalize and ride on UBA’s extensive touch points to conduct their business,” she said.
Dr Kankasa said the bank had made strategic resolutions that would strengthen its commitment to earn the industry leadership.
“We have set up a robust plan that is targeted at making UBA Zambia a key player in the banking sector,” she said.
UBA Zambia Chief Executive Officer, Chinedu Obeta, said commissioning of the Lewanika branch was a deliberate move aimed at bringing financial service closer to the banked and unbanked communities while catering for both corporates and retail clients.
Mr Obeta said the branch was part of UBA Zambia’s branch expansion project and strategic intent of intensifying financial inclusion and delivering excellent financial services in a modern environment.
“UBA Zambia is cognisant of the need to accelerate the financial inclusion journey in Zambia, as it has been shown to contribute to wealth creation, economic growth, and sustainable development.
“We are committed to complementing and working with the government in its quest of ‘achieving universal access and usage of a broad range of quality and affordable financial services that meet the needs of both individuals and enterprises,” he said.
Mr Obeta said the Bank would further ensure that it closely work with the Central Bank which had a huge task of regulating and promoting the growth and development of the financial sector among other key functions.