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Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Ms. Elizabeth Genia officially opened the Women’s Micro Bank (WMB) Branch in Kerema onTuesday 7th of May, making it the fifth WMB branch to be operating in Papua New Guinea.

Ms. Genia stated that WMB has become a key driver of financial inclusion and financial inclusion was originally a BPNG led innovation but is now a national strategic priority.

She applauded women’s micro bank services in addressing several financial inclusion objectives, particularly highlighting depositing taking and lending opportunities to the 85% of the population who are still unbanked.

“Opening of the Kerema branch is another way Women’s Microbank has made a commitment to encouraging people to access financial services.”

“The branch will provide a practical and desirable alternative to the risks of holding cash, informal money lending and money scams, all of which stop people from building a comfortable standard of living.” She said.

Coinciding with the opening, was also the launching of the Kerema District SME Policy which was officially launched by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape.

The Prime Minister committed three million kina towards the WMB Kerema branch as part of the Government’s partnership with KDDA in assisting to create a credit lending facility where Gulf women especially mothers in SME can benefit.

Kerema Open MP, Thomas Opa also committed two million kina towards the WMB Kerema branch and also became the first customer to open an account with the branch.

Mr. Opa emphasized that empowering women in Gulf province was a big challenge but was positive that with the setting up of a WNB (mama) branch in his province and assistance from the government with seed capital to fund lending credit facilities, he was confident mothers and young girls will take advantage of the opportunity and use the facilities wisely to venture in various business opportunities and empower themselves financially.

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Amanda Ilaitia
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