Acting Governor Ms Elizabeth Genia speech for the Launching of National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2023-2027 ‘Deepening Financial Inclusion in Papua New Guinea’ Tuesday 25th April, 2023 : Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby

A/Governor’s Speech for NFIS 2023-2027 Launch
25 April 2023
Hilton Hotel Port Moresby

Chief Secretary Ambassador Pomaeleu, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

As Chairman of the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion, it is my privilege to present what I believe is one of the most important development and growth plans for our nation, the 3rd National Financial Inclusion Strategy, NFIS3.

“One of the most important plans for our nation”?

Why do I say, it is so important?

Because it will help PNG achieve a stable, resilient, sustainable and competitive financial sector. And it is essential to have an effective financial sector for our nation to move towards sustainable economic growth.

Without sustainable economic growth, our nation runs the risk of stagnating, or worse still, falling behind.

Having the necessary infrastructure for the financial system is one part of achieving an effective financial sector. But it’s also essential for all Papua New Guineans to have access to fair financial services and products.

If we compare our national economy to a boat, if we want it to be the best boat to get to our desired destination, in this case sustainable economic growth, we need to make sure it has the capacity for everyone. And we need everyone on board so no one gets left behind. If we only provide seats for people from certain areas, such as urban centres, the boat will be unbalanced.

We need to provide the right seating arrangements to suit everyone, so everyone can contribute to the effort so that everyone has a fair chance of sharing in the benefits available from attaining our destination.

NFIS3 is all about making sure no one is left behind. That means everyone, wherever they come from, will be able to acquire the right knowledge and equipment to help move the economic growth ‘boat’.

Financial education is the start – so people can learn how to make informed decisions about selecting appropriate financial products and services. Through knowledge comes the opportunity to build their financial independence.

I’m not going to recap on the very impressive participation statistics that have been achieved through NFIS 1 and 2. Suffice to say that CEFI, the Bank of PNG and our range of partners have worked very effectively together to give financial inclusion the strong start it has had over the past 10 years.

If we return to the boat analogy, we have designed a sound vessel. We have developed new technologies to make sure the boat can navigate the challenges of the charted course. We have identified submerged rocks that may threaten its progress. We have enlisted partners who can help us get to the remote areas, so no one is left behind.

We have tested it rigorously to make sure it has the capacity and the drive to head towards sustainable economic growth.
Right now it’s time to look forward again. Because we are now at the point of doing and of making a real difference to people who have not previously been able to get on board.

NFIS3 provides a clear direction to accelerate FI achievements that will enable wealth creation around the country, not just in our major centres.

How is that going to happen? By tapping into the expertise and experience of a wide range of stakeholders, including development partners and financial institutions.

Using technology effectively to create an enabling environment is core to NFIS3.

We already have world first developments through BPNG, tested and ready to go, that will be key to getting the economic growth/financial inclusion boat powering through, such as the Digital ID and the Regulatory Sandbox.

Our financial institution partners are bringing in innovative products and services, with technology drivers to cut through the barriers imposed by geography. The SME Accelerator Program, underpinned by the Credit Guaranteed Facility, will provide a safety raft to loan providers to encourage them to lend to MSMEs.

We’re working to deal firmly with the pirates – loan sharks or disreputable money lenders – who prey on desperate customers and sink them in debt traps. The Bank is currently working on a project to build a financial consumer protection régime.

I predict the implementation of NFIS3 will accelerate the rate of progress, through initiatives such as these, together with the ongoing cooperation and enthusiasm of our partners – financial institutions and digital services providers.

NFIS3 will provide the chart to show the way for all Papua New Guineans to have fair and cost-effective access to essential financial services and products, to enable all to build financial independence. In this way, our national financial inclusion boat becomes a lifeboat in a very real sense.

As I said at the beginning of my remarks, NFIS3 is no doubt “one of the most important plans for our nation”.
What an incredibly important responsibility this is, one that everyone here in the room will play a part.

I look forward to continuing to work with you all, through CEFI, with the support of the Bank of Papua New Guinea to launch the power of the 3rd National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

Thank you.