Stakeholders meet on National Financial Inclusion Strategy

Bank of Ghana3The Ministry of Finance has held a day’s stakeholders workshop to discuss how the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) framework, which aims to promote access to financial services for the underprivileged in society, can be enhanced.

The NFIS has become necessary because of the low financial penetration and access to financial services by the citizens.

Currently, only 58 per cent of adults in the country have access to financial services.

Opening the workshop, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Helen Mona Quartey said financial inclusion was a key driver for economic growth.

She said financial inclusion provided the opportunity to save for the future, to invest and generate income and to insure against adverse events.

“Globally, it is recognised that it is difficult to pursue economic growth if a large sector of our society is financially excluded from active participation in the economy,” she said.

She, therefore, called for coordinated and concerted efforts among stakeholders to bring affordable and sustainable financial services to the underserved and low income earners in the rural areas.

The Deputy Minister said smart financial inclusion policy could reduce inequality, contribute to overall sustainable economic development and stability and reduce poverty and promoting inclusive growth.

That, she said, was the reason why the government initiated the move to develop a NFIS to establish a long-term programme to ensure that financial services were widely accessed throughout the country.

“Specifically, through the comprehensive national strategy, we will be able to improve access to and usage of tailored financial services especially by the under- served and the poor,” Mrs Quartey said.

She encouraged the participants to make available comprehensive and reliable data to ensure the setting of realistic national targets in the NFIS and to provide credible basis for developing key monitoring indicators and establishing reasonable benchmarks for monitoring progress.

Mr Henry Kerali, the World Bank Country Director, pledged the World Bank’s commitment to help support these efforts and those in the broader financial sector.

He said while Ghana had made steady progress since 2010 to improve the proportion of citizens with access to formal financial services from 41 per cent to 58 per cent many still lack access.

“While the increase in financial inclusion is positive development, the fact that 42 per cent of Ghanaian-mainly women and rural communities-still lack access to formal financial services highlights the importance of developing a national financial inclusion strategy to help guide and bolster efforts to promote broader access to financial services,” he said.

Mr Kerali said the NFIS would not only provide a road-map of prioritised and concrete reforms that would lead to tangible development outcomes, but would also promote development partner coordination around a unified agenda.

The Director of Financial Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Magdalene Apenteng in a presentation on the NFIS framework status and way forward said the objective of the NFIS was to promote financial inclusion in the country.

She said the objective of government was to increase access to and use of financial services offered by formal financial institutions from the current level of 58 per cent to 75 per cent by the end of the strategy period of 2021.

Mrs Apenteng said the technical committee would work with all to achieve higher financial inclusion levels through partnerships and active participation of all, including Government agencies, the private sector, and civil society among others.

Source: GNA

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