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Letter - Being effective public servants to the people

2021-10-01  Staff Reporter

Letter - Being effective public servants to the people
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During the Covid-19 pandemic, several people languished in hard economic scope for many reasons among them: the lower levels of financial literateness. 

Although, the Covid-19 crisis was unprecedent, the lack of financial literacy has led many people into economic burdens after various sectors were put on hold during lockdown and prevailed shutdowns of the country’s borders. 

This was an acute concern and needed instantaneous attention. 

The rise of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and globally has caused economic repercussions across Namibia leads to over-indebtedness. 

The measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in layoffs and businesses’ standstills, subsequent in the loss of jobs in a variety of industries such as restaurants, bars, hotels and manufacturing. 

Many of people have little understanding of finances such as buying on credit, saving or investing. When we think about improving our lives, we are usually thinking of ways to live larger than life. 

It’s all about spending more money in the shortest amount of time for things we may not even need – and forgetting life continues to the next day. 

Financial miseducation is an obstacle faced by people in Namibia, as well as in the emerging economies in Africa. 

Lack of financial education affects the local economy and several studies show that financial education programs in later ages have very limited touch, as it may not prepare a young person to make real-life economic decisions like saving to buy a house, making investments or saving for retirement. 

Many people in Namibia arrive close to retirement in debt – the biggest financial slavery! A lot of people live above their earnings; this trend enslaves people because a person has to work for debts throughout the life. 

There is ample evidence of the impact of financial literacy on people’s decisions and financial behaviour. Young people struggle with debts, particularly with vehicles, housing even furniture loans.

 

There are a few basic financial literacy keywords and concepts that are good to get familiar with, such as: 

Personal finance – which is all about your private financial situation and goals, and how they are affected by your income, expenses and living situation in which one should develop approaches to better budget, invest or save your money. 

Budgeting – how you plan to spend your money, which means how much of your income you put aside for savings, expenses and bills. 

Credit – essentially borrowing money from a lender with the expectation to pay it back in instalments, and you have to pay it back with interest added on. 

Debt – the money you owe someone else, this affects your income or your salary, as you have always to split it to pay it back, and your income never lasts. It becomes a norm to keep borrowing. 

Investing – putting money into something with the hope that it will generate more income in the future, including stocks/shares in companies, real estate and retirement funds; this is where passive income plays a role. This is an income you get without directly sweating for it. The lack of financial understanding is one of the main reasons many Namibians struggled and still struggle with saving and investing. Financial planning is not a short term but a continuous process. 

If people understand the nitty gritty of financial market from early times, they can make the right decision later on. 

There are certain businesses that feel good when people are financially limited, because they need them to stay within the system, because that is a profit for them; they need individuals to continue going to check cashing stores and cash loans because it is a business; it is the economy of it.

We, therefore, need to understand the concept of financial markets; this can also prevent us from investing in wrong financial instruments later – and also, we will avoid buying affordable goods on credit. One would save up for such items for five months or less and buy it on full amount once – other than buying it on credit and paying double the initial price. 

The biggest benefit is that financially literate people are better prepared for the future. As economies strive to build back better, financial literacy needs to occupy the centre stage of recovery efforts. 

You do not need tertiary education to understand how saving, debts or credits work but a firm grasp of basic finance is more than enough. If 2020/21 taught us anything, it is that we never know what may happen because even wealthy people found themselves in a financial disaster.

 

 

* Leonard Kanime is a certified capital & stock markets professional with India stock exchange. He Holds a Master of Business Administration from Assam Don Bosco University, India, and a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication, Tezpur University, India. He writes in his personal capacity. 


2021-10-01  Staff Reporter

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