Both created for the purpose of ensuring continuity of economic activity and empowerment of citizens, Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) and the National Development Bank (NDB) have a mutually beneficial partnership, the CEO of BALA, Steve Pheko, has said.
Pheko explained that BALA, which was first established in 1986 under the Local Government Act, lobbies for employees of local government, including district councils. The organisation is run by a board whose members are elected from elected councillors.
According to Pheko, BALA is member-driven and has been lobbying for better products across streams. NDB has so far proven to be very important due to its alignment with development financing, which is in line with the mandate of councils, he added.
He lauded the “complementary relationship” between NDB and BALA, saying members of BALA are helped at the bank on the basis of it without compromising its procedures. Pheko emphasised that BALA got into this relationship with the bank to enable its members to get specialised loans to own and develop their farms while still employed. This reduces dependency upon retirement and creates employment.
He noted that members of BALA received over P6 million in loans from NDB in the past year. Pheko said these funds contribute immensely to achievement of Sustainable Development Goals of food security and employment creation.
So far, BALA and NDB have devised specialised packages for associates to access the bank’s services at different levels agreed on. Because of this arrangement, Pheko added, members of BALA no longer have to run around banks and settle for unsuitable terms. He lauded the relationship, saying it is citizen-driven for the country’s economic development.