FORMER Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande has called for the introduction of financial education in schools, saying this will help curb misappropriation of public funds because children will be taught how to handle money from an early stage.

In an interview, Monday, Magande said financial education would enable people to understand that proper expenditure brings about development.

“We should start even teaching financial operations in the schools. I think this should not be beyond the syllabus of the Ministry of Education. It’s just to teach people how to handle money. If you borrow, your responsibility is to pay back regardless of who has lent you money. I must know that this person didn’t have money just for giving away, he is only lending me so that I can make more money and I pay him, then both of us become more comfortable. Now, something like that can be taught in a subject or in a lesson or syllabus in school,” Magande said.

“Talking about development, what brings about development is expenditure which is properly done and then from there other people use the facilities to improve their lives by being businessmen. So I would urge that we start some simple accounting in schools. The earlier we start even at nursery, people will become more judicious and all these issues of people taking away public funds and so on could be reduced, if not eliminated.”

And commenting on this year’s theme for the Financial Literacy Week, Magande said people should ensure proper financial planning for the future.

“Your expenditure in whatever project you are involved in is where you are going to get your livelihood tomorrow. So you should actually be very careful how you use the money that you get. You should have proper books of accounts. Even just an exercise book could be helpful, just somewhere where you write every day how much you get and how much you are supposed to spend so that you know when there is [a] crisis of management in the home. Although of course there are no school fees now, sometimes you might find that that at the certain time of the year your school-going child might require a new pencil and a new exercise and then there must be money to do all those things,” he said.

“And if you are a farmer or a son of a farmer, you must realise that at one time of the year there is need to buy fertilizer or inputs so you must have some bit of money which you were putting aside. So that is the planning for the future and the future is not very distant, it is not 20 years from now it is just the next day. So those are some of the things that I think should be interpreted within this theme of the week.”

Zambia is observing the 2022 Financial Literacy Week from March 21 to 27 under the theme: “Build your future – Be money smart.”

Meanwhile, commenting on the increasing cases of suicide attributed to financial distress, Magande said suicide should never be an option because it does not solve the problem.

“Just to advise the young people that most of the people they call rich around if they are able to get to them and find out how they started their business, they all started business and they all run into problems and taking one’s life does not solve the problem. In fact, like they are now being encouraged to register projects, once you take your life, the company which is registered at PACRA since it was registered as an existing person, it will continue to owe that money and will only bring problems to the relatives that remain behind to look for that money. Those will even be the ones who would suffer more because then the security which you provided might be taken away and you are already gone and you don’t feel the pain of having no home,” said Magande.