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Information availability vital in financial inclusion drive

Solidifying Financial Inclusion: Stakeholders of the national financial inclusion program during the launch of the SME Loan Guide booklet. Pictured (l-r) are CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe, CIP Country Director Eli Webb, Governor BPNG Loi Bakani and MSME Council's new President Des Yaninen pose during presentation of booklet copies by Governor Bakani to Des and Eli.

By Jason Som Kaut

Making information available to more people and businesses in simple easy to understand language is vital in underpinning Papua New Guinea’s drive of financial inclusion for all its citizens.

This was the message echoed by various speakers during the recent launch of a booklet - SME Loan Product Guide by Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Mr Loi Bakani during what he described as a ‘small but significant event for financial inclusion’.

The event marked months of collaboration and is the first product of the various sector working groups who continue to work hard to drive the governments financial inclusion program led by the Bank of Papua New Guinea and under it the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI).

In officially launching the booklet, Mr Bakani presented a copy each to Des Yaninen, President of the MSME Council Incorporated and Ms Eli Webb, Country Director of the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).

“Information sharing is very important, but we are not doing much and must do more...,” Governor Bakani said.

“The lack of access to banking information for a majority of our people still remains a challenge,” he said.

This is especially true for the majority of those reliant on the informal and the agricultural sector.

The BPNG in the past held an annual financial exposition, but has not done so for some time. Governor Bakani said the exposition was planned to be held this year but cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is an annual event, we need to do more daily...we are looking at more ways we can disseminate information to reach more people. We are doing it, but we are not doing enough,’ Governor Bakani said.

He encouraged the use of innovative and appropriate technology to reach more people.

The booklet SME Financial Inclusion Guide is another important step in providing information for SME’s to have access to banking services. The booklet provides client requirements and contact details for various financial institutions and will ‘immensely benefit the SME sector’.

It also provides key messages on financial literacy.

SME finance and access to finance through informal and agricultural enterprise are identified as key priority areas under the government’s national financial inclusions strategy.

The booklet was produced with input from financial institutions and commercial banks and is a ‘one-stop shop’ for information about various banking products, requirements and contact details.

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