Financial Sector working together to change lives through access to finance

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Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

 Leaders from the financial sector met today to formalize working groups to implement the goals of the National Financial Inclusion & Financial Literacy Strategy 2014/2015.

“It is imperative that stakeholders coordinate to achieve the commitments that PNG has made under the Maya Declaration through the country’s National Strategy for financial inclusion,” said Governor Loi Bakani of the Bank of PNG and Chairman of the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI). CEFI, supported by Steering Committee members consisting of the Bank of PNG, UNCDF/UNDP Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Australian Government, Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council (CIMC) and the ADB managed Microfinance Expansion Project, is setting up working groups in six key areas to help address the priorities identified in the National Strategy. The working group on Consumer Protection will serve as the coordinating body for consumer protection and market conduct initiatives. It will work with industry standard bodies to appropriately protect vulnerable users of financial services. The working group on Financial Education and Literacy will promote standards for the delivery and measurement of impact of financial literacy trainings.

The working group on Electronic Banking will focus on innovative ways to expand access and encourage markets using ICT. It will facilitate the development of payment systems that serve the low-income population sustainably in order to reduce the time and money that low income earning people spend to conduct financial transactions.

The working group on data and measurement will encourage and promote the importance of collecting and sharing relevant data to measure progress in financial inclusion. It will institutionalize a standard set of indicators, guided by the G-20 Financial Inclusion indicators that will be collected and shared to highlight gaps in outreach and services through digital mapping and other effective mediums of data presentation. The working group on inclusive insurance will actively advocate the development of a conducive policy and regulatory environment for the growth of the inclusive insurance market. Finally, the working group on government coordination, with participation from various government departments such as Commerce, Trade and Industry, Community Development, Treasury, and Planning & Monitoring, will ensure that the various government departments’ activities related to financial inclusion are coordinated and complimentary, with the overall goal of decentralizing delivery of financial services, financial education, and financial awareness for low-income consumers and enterprises.

All working groups will mainstream gender, with focused attention on women’s access to financial services, greater gender balance in inclusive financial sector intermediaries (i.e. governance, management and staffing), and creating an enabling policy, regulatory and legislative environment that promotes and enhances the development of women-centric financial services.

Together, stakeholders attending the workshop committed to work together to bank one million more people by end of 2015.


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