The third National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2027 was launched at the Hilton Hotel on 25th April, 2023 by the Chief Secretary, Ivan Pomaleu, OBE.
The Chief Secretary was honoured to launch the 3rd National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2023-2027 at this great event, stating the importance of Financial Inclusion in the country.
“We (the government) believe that financial inclusion is key to integrating the unbanked into the formal economy, which helps to alleviate poverty, make the poor less vulnerable to financial shocks, reduces economic inequality and raises living standards for all,” said the Chief Secretary.
The Chief Secretary emphasized specifically on how the NFIS is receptive to global trends, emerging issues, digital financial services and gender.
Mr. Pomaleu also highlighted the importance of the financial inclusion strategy in embracing the green finance policy and contribution of financial inclusion in financial stability for the unbanked and underbanked individuals and small businesses.
He said financial inclusion is the development priority for the government due to increase in income inequality between the lower- and higher-class societies.
“Financial inclusion is one of the key enablers of many of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations and serves as a powerful element for progress in education, health and other basic public needs, as well as contributing even to climate change and sustainable development,” he said.
Bank of Papua New Guinea Acting Governor, Mrs. Elizabeth Genia in presenting the NFIS stated that the Bank recognises that expanding financial services can encourage the participation of more Papua New Guineans, especially those in rural areas and urban settlements, in development activities in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy, and that the benefits of growth and technology need to be widely shared.
“Many Papua New Guineans find themselves on the fringes of the monetary economy with little understanding of, or access to financial services. Improvement in the proportion of the banked population and the financial literacy of this population will empower them to improve outcomes in savings, investment and sharing of the benefits of economic growth,” said Mrs. Genia.
The Acting Governor stated that the overall objective of Third National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS3) is to reach 2 million unbanked population by 2027 of whom 50% will be women.
“It’s also important that the strategy focuses on reaching our women and youth. Access to financial services for women and youth will remain a challenge. As indicated in the strategy, use of new technology and innovative business models will overcome barriers to access and improve inclusion for women and youth,” said the Acting Governor.
Assistant Governor, Financial System Stability Group – Bank of PNG, Mr. George Awap thanked and commended the stakeholders for recognising financial inclusion as an essential component of Papua New Guinea’s development plan.
“The Central Bank embedded various initiatives in PNG to fight financial exclusion can be traced back to the development of National Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy Strategy 2014-2015 followed by the Second National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020,” said Mr. Awap.
“Building on the success of the first and second national strategy implementations and lessons learnt in the process, CEFI and BPNG developed the third NFIS 2023-2027,” he added.
CEFI Financial Inclusion Advisor, Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, was grateful to the institutions that participated in the studies of the third NFIS strategy.
“The NFIS basically outlines building capacities, establishing partnerships with public and private sector creating space for innovation and using technology to reach the unreached,” said Mr. Ranasinghe during his NFIS presentation.
Mr. Ranasignhe in his presentation of the NFIS, highlighted the main strategic objectives which were, build financial competency through financial literacy and education, create an enabling policy and regulatory environment, develop effective public and private sector engagement, develop an enabling environment for inclusive green finance and deepened financial services.
Chief Executive Officer’s from nine financial institutions, including BSP, Kina, Westpac, Digicel, Savings and Loans Federation, Nationwide Micro Bank, Womens Miro Bank, People’s Micro Bank, Kada Poroman Microfinance, participated in a signing of contract ‘I-Commit’ with the Acting Governor of the Bank of PNG, Mrs. Elizabeth Genia.
I-Commit (Institutional Commitment of Measurable Inclusion Targets) is a set of measurable commitments by the financial service providers to achieve financial inclusion targets and thereby contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in PNG.
The launch ended on a high note with the announcement of the Financial Inclusion Excellence Awards (FIEA) by the Assistant Governor, FSSG Mr. George Awap.
The awards will be given in the following categories: Financial Inclusion and Deepening Award, Financial Innovation Award, Inclusive Green Finance Award, Financial Inclusion Media Contribution Award, Financial Inclusion Advocate Award and the Financial Inclusion New Player Award which will be awarded in November 2024.