West New Britain Province becomes the first province in Papua New Guinea to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion(CEFI) today to advance financial inclusion activities in the province.
The Bank of Papua New Guinea Governor and Chairman of CEFI Loi M Bakani and West New Britain Provincial Administrator Hosea Williamson signed the MoU to promote the integration of financial inclusion in the West New Britain Provincial administration planning and implementation processes and also build the capacity of West New Britain Provincial Administration staff to implement important financial inclusion activities.
The activities will include integrating the PNG financial inclusion strategy in provincial government planning process to expand banking and financial services network, increase formal bank accounts for residents, financial literacy and business development training and digitizing provincial government payments.
CEFI as the custodian of the PNG Financial Inclusion Strategy and the implementer of Government financial inclusion Policy will be working closely with WNB Provincial administration staff to train and build their capacity and knowledge to roll out financial literacy and business development services training to reach a wider population in province, targeting mainly youths and women.
The Bank of Papua New Guinea Governor Loi M Bakani noted the significance of improving financial capability of communities in West New Britain. “The province hosts the country’s largest oil palm industry, including timber and tourism. Together, these industries contribute over PGK80 million to the national purse.”
“By improving access to banks, micro banks, banking agents, ATMs, formal banking products and financial literacy training there, will enable people to understand skills, attitudes and especially behaviours in order to make sound financial decisions suited to improving their standard of living,” says Governor Loi Bakani.
West New Britain Provincial Administrator Hosea Williamson says the signing demonstrates a new phase in development for the province to improve the savings culture of the people who have access to cash because of oil palm, cocoa, copra, timber and fisheries products.
“Financial Inclusion is increasingly becoming a new development agenda for provincial governments and ward levels. Individuals, families, public servants and SMEs stand to benefit from this Financial Inclusion Program.”
“Business Development services covering various topics will be taught and this will be aligned into the Financial Inclusion Program. When people are financially literate, they can apply this knowledge to their business activities to improve their lives,” says Mr Hosea Williamson, West New Britain Provincial Administrator.
The MoU is an outcome of the provincial rollout project under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020 to reach provincial, local level and wards to promote and ensure quality financial services are delivered by a range of providers at affordable cost, in a convenient manner, and is user-friendly for the users.