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The third National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2027 (NFIS) was launched at the Hilton Hotel on Tuesday 25th April, 2023 by the Chief Secretary Ivan Pomaleu.

In his keynote speech, the Chief Secretary highlighted the importance of financial inclusion strategy and emphasized specifically on how the NFIS is receptive to global trends, emerging issues, digital financial services and gender.

 “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,” Pomaleu said.

“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.

During the launching, Bank of Papua New Guinea Acting Governor Elizabeth Genia stated that the Bank recognizes 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,” Acting Governor Genia said.

Acting Governor stated that the aim of third National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS3) is to reach 2 million unbanked population by 2027 and 50%  will be women.

“It’s also important that the strategy focus 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,” Genia said.

Adding to that, the Assistant Governor, Financial System Stability Group Bank of PNG, George Awap commended the stakeholders for recognizing financial inclusion as an essential component of Papua New Guineans 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 Awap.

He added that “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.”

CEFI Financial Inclusion Advisor, Saliya Ranasinghe, 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.

Mr Ranasinghe was grateful to the institutions that participated in the studies of the third NFIS strategy and looking forward to working with them.

“The NFIS basically outlines building capacities, establishing partnership with public and private sector creating space for innovation and using technology to reach the unreached,” said Ranasinghe.

To continue their commitment in serving the people, Chief Executive Officer’s from the nine financial institutions, BSP, Kina, Westpac, Digicel, Savings and Loans Federation, Nationwide Micro Bank, Womens Miro Bank, People’s Micro Bank, Kada Poroman Microfinance, signed ‘I-Commit’ contract with the Acting Governor of the Bank of PNG Elizabeth Genia.

I-Commit (Institutional Commitment of Measurable Inclusion Targets) is a set of measurable commitments by the financial service providers to achieve the financial inclusion targets and there by contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in PNG.

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