RBF: Fiji Ad­vanced In Fi­nan­cial Lit­er­acy

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - BY CHARLES CHAM­BERS EDITED BY FARZANA NISHA Feed­back: charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.com.fj

Fiji has forged it­self in the world as one of the lead­ing de­vel­op­ing coun­tries that is well in ad­vance with fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy. This was stated yes­ter­day by the gover­nor of the Re­serve Bank of Fiji Barry Whiteside and Peter W Fos­ter, the Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Al­liance for Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion (AFI). The an­nual meet­ing of AFI was com­pleted yes­ter­day and is be­ing held in con­junc­tion with the Global Pol­icy Fo­rum, which will be opened by the Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama at the Sher­a­ton Fiji Re­sort on Denarau Is­land to­day. The RBF is host to this year’s fo­rum which has been de­scribed by Mr Fos­ter as the largest yet with 81 de­vel­op­ing and donor coun­tries tak­ing part. The AFI com­pleted their AGM be­hind closed doors yes­ter­day dis­cussing their fi­nances, bud­get­ing and the way for­ward.

“This is a pier learn­ing-knowl­edge-shar­ing type of meet­ing,” Mr Whiteside said. “Many coun­tries are more ad­vanced than us in terms of fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and we will learn off them and like­wise they will learn off us be­cause we ad­vanced in a num­ber of ar­eas.

“One of this is fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy we have put in place into schools (Fi­nan­cial Ed­u­ca­tion or FINED). “Top­ics such as money in­vest­ing and bud­get­ing have been put into the school cur­ricu­lum and peo­ple get to learn these things and when they are adults they are fi­nan­cial savvy. “We are fairly ad­vanced com­pared to other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in the world so other coun­tries will learn off us.” Mr Whiteside said one of the ar­eas that Fiji would learn was mo­bile money ser­vices, as present with Voda­fone with MPaisa and Dig­i­cel with Digi-Money.

“Ac­cord­ing to our last sur­vey, 700,000 peo­ple had signed up but the ac­tive us­age by some­one in the last 90 days was only three per­cent,” he said. “We are won­der­ing why and how we can en­cour­age peo­ple on the us­age of these ser­vices be­cause it is fairly good.” He said in other coun­tries the us­age was much higher and that was why Fiji is plan­ning to have side meet­ings with these coun­tries to see how they could learn on get­ting more peo­ple in­volved. He said an­other area was for the two mo­bile ser­vices to get to­gether and al­low the trans­fer of money from one to the other. Mr Whiteside said this was not hap­pen­ing and there was a need to know why and how some other coun­tries have man­aged to make this hap­pen. “Tan­za­nia has man­aged to have their net­works have that in­ter­change,” he said as an ex­am­ple. Mr Whiteside added this was for banks and mo­bile net­works where one could trans­fer money from their mo­bile to their bank ac­counts.

He said Fiji’s fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion pro­gramme should be en­hanced go­ing into the fu­ture. Mr Whiteside said a De­mand Side sur­vey, which was done fol­low­ing the coun­try’s first Five Year Strate­gic Plan ended in 2014, had now been com­pleted where peo­ple were asked on the us­age of such fi­nan­cial ser­vices. “We have re­viewed the sur­vey and have put in place ar­eas where there were gaps and some in these ar­eas are in fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and move fur­ther to mi­cro and medium small en­trepreneurs.”

He said this would fit in well with those com­ing out of uni­ver­si­ties.

Many coun­tries are more ad­vanced than us in terms of fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and we will learn off them and like­wise they will learn off us be­cause we ad­vanced in a num­ber of ar­eas. Barry Whiteside Gover­nor for Re­serve Bank of Fiji

Photo: ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN

From left: Chair­per­son of Al­liance for Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion (AFI) and Bank of Zam­bia deputy gover­nor-ad­min­is­tra­tion Tukiya Mab­ula, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Al­fred Han­ning and the Re­serve Bank of Fiji gover­nor, Barry Whiteside at the Al­liance for Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Global Pol­icy Fo­rum press con­fer­ence at Sher­a­ton Fiji Re­sort, Nadi.

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