Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe says the National Savings and Credit (NATSAVE) bank has not declared any dividends to government because it has been operating under loss.

And Mwanakatwe says for this reason, government has revamped the management at the bank and further provided a sovereign guarantee to allow it operate efficiently.

Mwanakatwe said this in Parliament, Wednesday, when she responded to a written question from Kalabo Central UPND member of parliament Chinga Miyutu who wanted to know what measures government was taking to improve the banks’ service delivery.

“The review of the 2014/2018 strategic plan of the National Savings and Credit bank (NATSAVE) showed that the bank had significantly lagged behind on its key strategic objectives. As a means of realigning the bank an interim turnaround plan was developed in February 2018. The turnaround plan is meant to bridge the performance gap to 2019 with a new strategic plan which will come into effect. The turnaround plan aims at the following: (i) leveraging on technology to stimulate growth of the bank (ii) implementing a well-functioning performance management system, (iii) achieving operational efficiency and quality customer service, (iv) enhancing the NATSAVE risk management framework, and (v) improving the pace at which audit queries are resolved,” Mwanakatwe said.

She admitted that the bank was under-capitalized.

“In addition, government has identified several areas that are crucial to improving service delivery by NATSAVE and to this effect [government] has put in place various measures to attain better services in rural areas. I do agree that NATSAVE is under-capitalized and for that reason government is willing to support NATSAVE [and] in so doing, we have provided a sovereign guarantee so that NATSAVE can go and seek for more funds and this is underway,” Mwanakatwe said.

Mwanakatwe said she was putting a lot of pressure on the bank to make it operate profitably.

“NATSAVE has gone through a lot, NATSAVE was not performing and I shared with you [the] 2014/2018 strategic plan, actually they were failing. We have revamped the management completely of NATSAVE, we have put in technology, we are putting in ATMs across the country working with partners such as NECO to put ATMs. We are revamping the way we operate at NATSAVE and I want you to give us a chance and where there are issues like [lack] of cheque books it’s unacceptable. But this is a bank that is capable of doing a lot and they are really under pressure from my ministry to make sure that they perform and I have confidence on them and this is why I have been able to give them a sovereign guarantee for them to be able to raise the money that they require to be able to operate efficiently,” she said.

And Mwanakatwe said NATSAVE was not declaring any dividends to the state because it was operating under loss.

“The institution is not profit making, it has been making losses, it has not declared a dividend. This is why in my statement, I talked about strategic plans for 2014/2018, we realised that even with that plan, things were not going to work in the manner that we want them to, which is declaring dividends and make profits,” said Mwanakatwe.