Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Charles Chuka has said strong leadership at all levels, especially in the banking sector, is critical to the country’s sound financial sector.
He said this in his speech during the 7th Annual Banker’s Dinner and Dance at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre on Friday.
Chuka, who specifically spoke on leadership in the banking industry, said, there is need for self-sacrifice from all players in the industry for the betterment of the economy.
He said: “Keeping the financial system stable and sound and protecting the general public so that their deposits are safe, take strong leadership from [commercial] banks, Reserve Bank of Malawi and everyone that work in the industry to make sure that they do their best.
“Leadership is basically self-sacrifice, it is not about oneself; it is about doing things for the sake of others, for the sake of the nation.”
He urged commercial banks to continue showing good leadership when discharging their businesses to ensure that their banks are strong for the sake of the economy and the public that invest in them.
Chuka cited the decision by President Peter Mutharika mid this year to approve the sale of majority stake in Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) as an example of strong leadership needed for the country’s economic development.
“The decision of the President to let MSB be sold was an example of good statesmanship. Statesmanship is a process whereby a leader makes a decision for the sake of the whole nation and not for their sake.
“The President took a political risk in making that decision, but he knew that it was important for this country and I am saying that by selling MSB, the President protected a lot of Malawians otherwise Malawians could have lost their money in that bank,” he said.
On his part, Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) president Misheck Esau said as part of good leadership, the banking sector has embarked on a number of projects such as the National Switch (Nat Switch) as one way of advancing operations in the sector.
On the profits that commercial banks in the country make, which have been dubbed as obscene by some commentators, he said: “It is important for Malawians to know that it is strong and profitable banks that can grow this economy. A bank that is making loses and weakening in its financial strength cannot continue lending and immediately the bank stops lending, it cannot grow this economy.”
In recent times, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito has taken the commercial banks to task for “ripping off” Malawians because of the huge profits they post every year at a time the economy is on the tailspin and interest rates are at an all-time high. n