Bank of Papua New Guinea Governor Opens Fifth Women’s Micro Bank Branch in Kerema

By: PNG Business News May 20, 2024

Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Ms. Elizabeth Genia officially opening the Women’s Micro Bank in Kerema.

Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Ms. Elizabeth Genia officially opened the Women’s Micro Bank (WMB) Branch in Kerema (Tuesday May 07), making it the fifth WMB branch to be operating in Papua New Guinea.

“Today’s official opening of its fifth branch celebrates another achievement in a long line of achievements we have seen for women’s microbank. I am sure your highly esteemed founder, the late Janet Sape, would have been extremely proud of the organization affectionately known as Mama Bank, now one of the top 50 companies for women in APEC countries and well regarded as a financial services innovator,” Ms. Genia told the people of Kerema town who turned up in hundreds to witness the important occasion.

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.”

“I understand the Kerema branch will enable the people of the district, particularly the women, to take advantage of services such as the MSC credit scheme, financial literacy training, as well as basics, including deposit takings and loans. 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.”

“Today’s official opening gives members of the community the opportunity to take significant steps forward towards building the financial security and financial independence,” the BPNG Governor 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 Honourable 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.

“Get into productive micro to small medium enterprises and do well for yourself. By doing well for yourself, you will be preparing your children well for the future,” the prime minister encouraged women from Gulf province.

Kerema Open MP Honourable 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 emphasised 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.

Other important delegates who witnessed the SME Policy Launching and WMB opening included, Kerema Open MP and Vice Minister for Petroleum and Energy Honourable Thomas Opa, Wapenamanda Open MP and Vice Minister for Works and Highways Honourable Mikki Kaeok, Moresby North West Open MP Lohia Boe Samuel, BPNG Assistant Governor George Awap, WMB CEO Gunanidhi Das, CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe and members of the Kerema District Development Authority and the Gulf Provincial Executive Council.

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