We keep stating in our Money Management stories that money is more than important in our lives, it is essential. It is no wonder that we endeavour to share best practices and tips regarding how we ought to grow and manage money well today in order to improve the quality of life for ourselves and our loved ones.
Last week, we discussed the concept of Village Banking stating what it is, its origin and benefits as well as the importance of the Know Your Customer (KYC) concept in VB. In today’s story, we go a step further in sharing other Tips that can help you to enhance your VB journey and experience.
Let us assume that you have the KYC sorted; you know all the people in your group acceptably well and you trust them enough to partner with in your VB journey, what else must you ensure is in place before you go ahead to invest your money?
The Constitution of a VB group is critical for the execution of all activities. It spells out all the do’s and don’ts of the group as discussed and agreed by every member. What is your role in this? It is necessary that you are actively involved in its formulation and more importantly, understand all its contents before you endorse it with your signature and/or sign your membership form. Ask all the questions you deem necessary and air your views about something you may not be happy with or totally understand. Whereas the Constitution may differ from group to group based on core objectives, some fundamentals of it remain mandatory and standard. To this effect, you are strongly encouraged to endorse a Constitution that clearly documents the following:
Ensure that a team of people tasked to ensure quality assurance of the activities of the group are selected in a fair and agreed manner and that they have what it takes to execute their roles well. These include and are not limited to the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
Number Of People In Group
The number of people varies from group to group. Whatever the case, the number should be reasonable enough to meet the objectives of a group. Remember that the number of people will have a bearing on other things such as amounts to save and interest rates to be paid on the borrowed money. Masters at the game advise that between 20 and 25 members is advisable with the latter being the maximum.
Saving And Borrowing Etiquette
Always stay focussed about the objective of your group. For most groups, this is threefold; to save and grow money as well as to access/borrow it. This essentially means that your objective will be realised through observing the right and agreed etiquette. Clearly understand the rules governing these two key activities.
Cycle Of Saving, Borrowing And Sharing
It is important that you agree on the cycle of your saving/borrowing for your group. Again this varies from group to group, half a year or a complete one is considered ideal as it will help you to determine what meaningful savings and growth of your money will look like based on agreed amounts to save and interest to be paid on borrowed money.
Minimum Saving Amount
Always ensure your Constitution has a clause which states the minimum amount to save each month and be sure that it is an amount that you can comfortably afford. Remember that these are monthly savings and so you need not put yourself in a situation that will end up stressing you simply because the minimum saving amount is above your means.
Maximum Borrowing Amount
These amounts are determined differently depending on agreed objectives. One would not be far from the truth to conclude that the more you save gives you access to borrow more as compared to those who save less. In the world of good Money Management, borrowing has its own etiquette. The golden rule is that one should not borrow for consumption or when they don’t need to; borrowed money should be put to good use. In the world of VB, borrowing becomes almost mandatory because one of the three main objectives is to grow the money and this can only be actualised through borrowing at agreed interest rates. There is a belief that all monies should be borrowed in VB, this is a discussion for another day! What are your views on this?
Interest Rates To Pay Following Borrowing
Much as one of the objectives of VB is to grow money, caution must be taken when determining interest rates. The rates should be manageable and realistic, remember it is you and your team members borrowing from yourselves! Do not settle for interest rates that will make you regret having joined a group, that will clearly take away from the many positives of VB you should be benefiting from and enjoying.
Just like in any business, the unexpected unpleasant things can happen. It is important that you and other members of your group critically and extensively analyse all risks that you can think of and put in place measures to mitigate them.
Breaking Etiquette And Consequences
Your constitution should have a clause to do with the course of action to take on a member should they break the agreed rules. This will greatly help in conflict resolution.
Commitment/Respect For Others
Groups have dynamics and being a true team player can be challenging. Whatever the case, you must be a committed member of your group. Show respect to other members by following the rules. Turn up for meetings as agreed and do so in or on time.
Dear Reader, please remember that there are no limits to what can be contained in a Constitution, it depends on group requirements and objectives. In the wake of some stories of VB gone wrong for instance, some groups have resorted to amending their Constitutions to include clauses to do with the ‘next of keen’ and ‘contact details’ for each member as well as what should happen in the event that a member dies.
We trust that this story will help you to enjoy maximum benefits of VB if you are in a group already or planning to join one. Our wish for you is that you master the art of managing money well today for a better tomorrow and that you create and sustain a quality life for you and your loved ones. Always remember that doing this is more behavioural than it is skill, the power is in and within you to change your Money Management narrative for the better if not yet in order; it is not too late. Be Smart, perfect your Money Moves now, you will be glad that you did in future!
Until next week, stay blessed and be a blessing to others.
Spring TV is operating illegally because it is not licensed by the authority, IBA Chair Mabel Mung’omba says
US okays electronic cigarettes
WITH rising numbers of smokers in sub-Saharan Africa, concerns regarding risk exposure to tobacco have been well documented. The impact on the entire industry, from farmers to consumers has always been a source of concern: who will support the farmers earning a living through their trade? This could change after a landmark decision in the industry.
Following 43 months of evaluation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorised the marketing of electrically heated tobacco system called IQOS by Philip Morris International (PMI) as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).
This decision by the US FDA marked the first time the agency has granted marketing orders for an electronic alternative to cigarettes. It found IQOS to be “appropriate to promote the public health and is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole.”
Considering that cigarette smoking kills more than seven million people worldwide each year, the US FDA decision opens a public health opportunity in the fight against the global tobacco epidemic. Encouraging the rapid shift from smoking cigarettes to alternatives such as IQOS – for adult smokers who have been unable or unwilling to quit – could save many lives.
While the FDA does not endorse IQOS, its decision followed a scientific review of more than one million pages of evidence submitted by PMI and took into account independent studies. The federal agency concluded that non-combustible tobacco products such as IQOS differ from cigarettes in reducing the body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.
This is consistent with earlier conclusions of regulatory and scientific bodies, that the product emits lower levels of harmful toxicants than lit cigarettes.
The finding recognizes the harm-reduction effects of the “heat-not-burn” technology, which provides smokers with nicotine, while substantially reducing the risks associated with the combustion of conventional cigarettes.
While rates of smoking have decreased in wealthy countries, they have grown in poorer nations. In sub-Saharan Africa, cigarette consumption increased by over 50 percent between 1980 and 2016. Of deaths among African adults caused by second-hand smoke, over 60 percent are among women who live and work with smokers.
There are lessons to be learned from the decision by the US FDA and similar regulatory bodies in Europe. A dogmatic approach to tobacco control, which condemns all tobacco products as equally injurious to public health, has little chance of reducing the harm of cigarettes in today’s world.
It should lower the cost of reduced risk products and make them available to adult smokers in Africa. Countries should move to include harm reduction in their arsenal of tobacco-control measures and engage the tobacco industry to find the best ways to make the new products widely available to adult smokers unable or unwilling to quit, possibly including raising taxes on conventional cigarettes, while significantly lowering them on reduced risk products;
Across Africa, where the median age is under 25, very strict measures must be put in place to protect under-age youth from gaining access to the new products, considering that they have been shown to be only better alternatives but are not risk free.
In an ideal world, humans would avoid all unnecessary substances that have negative effects on their health. Unfortunately, that is not the case and will likely never be. It will require courage and political will, but it is a public health imperative to adopt measures to reduce risks to the more than one billion smokers worldwide.
MoH, UNICEF and SIDA announce a new US$ 5.2 million agreement in Zambia to boost essentials health services to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
THE Swedish International Development Agency in partnership with UNICEF and the Government of Zambia have signed a K94. 6 million worth agreement with a view to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Zambian Health sector.
The partnership is also aimed at supporting existing health services in Zambia by providing essential commodities for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH), by procuring oxygen concentrators for hospitals in Southern, Eastern, Luapula, and Muchinga Provinces.
And Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Kennedy Malama has thanked the partners for the support in the sector.
“This support comes at a crucial time for Zambia in the COVID-19 response and will go a long way to supporting essential health services. We thank the Government of Sweden for their generous support to the people of Zambia, especially our children,” Dr Malama said.
Part of the partnership is also lined up to provide personal protective equipment to 5,000 health workers in 983 primary health care facilities and 48 hospitals.
Swedish Ambassador to Zambia, Anna Maj Hultgård, said her country is happy to be able to make this important contribution to Zambia.
“We place great importance to supporting the health system in Zambia and essential health workers not only to empower them to safely respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic but also to ensure that essential services such as maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health and nutrition can continue with minimal disruption,” Hultgård said.
She said about one million people in Zambia are expected to benefit from essential health services and commodities supplied under the programme.