The expert, Jessica Massie, a trainer with Microfinance Transparency (MFT), was speaking in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commercial city, Blantyre on Friday during a day-long training workshop for business and economics journalists. The training was in partnership with the Association of Business Journalists-Malawi (ABJ).
Massie said lack of transparency in microfinance has often resulted in lenders skinning desperate customers alive and borrowers crying foul.
“It is, therefore, very important for you as journalists to ensure that there is transparency in microfinance by publicicing various aspects of the business,” said Massie.
She observed that lenders need to know the difference between flat and declining interest rates as well as how much exactly they are expected to pay back at the end of the agreed period.
“It is crucial that when the borrowers are entering into an agreement with the financial institutions, they are aware of the terms and conditions of the loans,” said Massie.
State-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) also contributed towards the training.
ABJ treasurer Dorothy Kachitsa thanked MFT and MSB for the training.
Kachitsa said business and economics journalists have a crucial role to play to help Malawians, most of who are illiterate and live in the rural areas, to understand various things happening in the economy, and therefore the need for them to be knowledgeable.
“It is imperative, therefore, that the group you are seeing before frequently undergo through such trainings as this will make a huge difference to some attitudes towards business news in some newsrooms,” said Kachitsa.
MSB head or retail and personal banking Ted Chanza pledged his bankÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s continued support to ABJ.