WINDHOEK – Namibians are drowning in debt and the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) says it’s a given that consumers get tempted to overspend during the festive season because of the illusions of bonuses and profit-share windfall that come during this time.
“Although Christmas is considered a time for giving, individuals should consider their financial situation and household budget before over-committing themselves. It is, however, important for consumers to be moderate in their spending to avoid disappointments in future,” said the Chief Executive Officer of NAMFISA, Phillip Shiimi.
Shiimi said that consumers should monitor their budgets carefully and not spend on unplanned items and activities, adding that statistics released by authoritative bodies have indicated that Namibians are drowning in debt, thus cautioning that the situation could worsen during this festive period, as many consumers would have received bonuses and profit shares on top of their normal salaries.
According to Shiimi, salaries, bonuses and profit shares during festive period present a great temptation to buy on the whim, without calculating risks and drawing up budgets. But as history has taught, reckless spending always comes back to haunt those consumers who have not applied their minds properly during their spending sojourns.
“Too often we have seen the excitement that characterizes the December holidays when people spend all their hard earned money and have little or nothing left for other essentials. No one is denied the opportunity to spend hard earned money but I encourage wise spending during this period, and indeed during other such festive periods,” he said, adding that spending hard earned money in itself is not a bad thing if consumers have planned and saved throughout the year.
“It is good to want to go on holiday or buy a new item for yourself, or for your family but consider the implications of enjoying the holiday and afterwards not having any money to pay for school fees or installments on the home loan or vehicle,” he says.
The consequences of such careless spending are too ghastly to contemplate and he therefore advised consumers to take note of the period after Christmas which also requires people to have money. “Therefore not all of it should be spent at one go, unless of course there has been adequate provision made for such spending,” said Shiimi.
He said that festive season spending also has another unintended consequence, which is that people will approach banks, micro-lenders, friends and even loan sharks to borrow money for school fees, transport money, rent and other essentials at the beginning of the year.
“We need to develop a culture of saving and financial planning. It is a habit that needs to be cultivated among all citizens. The best way to manage and eliminate financial stress is simply to rein in reckless spending, develop a savings culture and work according to a realistic budget to track expenses,” he urged.
By Staff Reporter