In a bid to augment the national response to the outbreak of Corona Virus - COVID-19 that continues to spread around the world at an alarming rate, the Banking sector comprising of the Central Bank of Lesotho as the regulator along with FNB Lesotho, Lesotho PostBank, Nedbank Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank have collectively donated M2million towards the fight against the outbreak of COVID-19 in Lesotho.
The contribution is going to be used primarily to support advocacy and education messages to ensure that Basotho are aware and empowered to take precautionary measures to limit the spread of this deadly virus, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Public education has been considered critical at this stage because prevention is one of the best ways to manage the pandemic; hence the country’s dire need to mobilise Basotho to be aware of the virus and to encourage them to take preventative measures against its spread.
The support is provided in response to a clarion call by the Government of Lesotho for all stakeholders to join efforts in preventing or combating the spread of this pandemic, which can otherwise become a national crisis affecting the lives of all the citizens.
The banking fraternity also applauds the government for taking the lead by declaring a national lockdown as announced by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister, which is necessary intervention to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The sector also continues to reaffirm its commitment to join the world in combating COVID-19 and to cooperate with the Ministry of Health and other interest groups to arrest this pandemic.
With regards to banking services in the country, the Prime Minister has identified financial services as one of the essential services, therefore, banks will still operate during the lockdown. In this partnership, the Central Bank of Lesotho has issued a directive requesting all banks to open for customers from 0900hrs to 1500hrs effective from 1st April, 2020. However, all clients are strongly advised to minimise branch visits and use all electronic banking channels for their banking as much as possible. These include Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, and App services. The use of these channels will limit their visits to branches to reduce exposure.
Furthermore, clients are encouraged to use banks’ call centres for other services like enquiries, queries, etc. Branches and ATMs are being regularly sanitised to ensure a safe environment for clients whilst visiting branches. As advised by the World Health Organisation, the banking fraternity also emphasises on the message for all residents in Lesotho to stay at home, stay safe and wash hands with soap and water or sanitiser regularly in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.