Government of Vanuatu – A very good afternoon to you all. I am honored to be with you this afternoon
Let me first thank you for your presence here to witness this significant milestone and to the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu for Organizing this important event.
I will start by saying – Welcome to the beginning of our collective journey to enhance the lives for our people through financial inclusion. In this journey, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy ( NFIS) wich we are launching today, shall serve as our road map.
Overview of NFIS
The Vanuatu National Financial Inclusion Strategy ( NFIS) is an national policy document that was developed with the vision of creating an enabling environment for enriching the livehoods of the people and MSMES in Vanuatu throught inclusive Financial Services and consumer empowerment and protection.
For the Government of Vanuatu, financial inclusion is an enduring vision – a Financial inclusion that supports inclusive growth, promotes shared economic development, upholds social cohesion and reduces incomes inequality.
The Government recognizes that the agenda of an inclusive must form an important component of an inclusive and sustainable development in Vanuatu National Sustainable development in Vanuatu . The Vanuatu National Sustainable Dvelopment Plan ( NSDP): ” Vanuatu 2030: The People Plan , has encompassed financial inclusion as an integral part of its programme. So let me, at the outset assure you of the Government’s strong support for the financial inclusion agenda in Vanuatu. Let me also take this opportuniy to call for a strong partnership between the reserve bank of Vanuatu and the Government on this important agenda. I am encouraged to note that the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu has entered into three MOUs with the three ministres namely, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu business, Ministry of Education and training, and the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Forestry and Biosecurity to work together to advance financial inclusion in Vanuatu.
our Constitution incumbents the Government to ensure the protection of the fundamental rigths including to life and liberty and the protection for the privacy of home and other property from unjust deprivation of property of all citizens. Financial Inclusion forms part of rights to financial services as consumers. In delivering the agenda of financial inclusion, the Government and the Reserve Bank must ensure that no stone is left unturned and that no one is left behind.
The NFIS aims to address three fundamental questions (1) why are we pursuing financial inclusion; (2) Who are we targeting to include, and (3) What should we do to translate the vision to reality.
Allow me to briefly elaborate more the tree points
(1) Why pursue Financial Inclusion
We are pursuing financial inclusion because we want the Ni-Vanuatu to have better lives. Having access to credit/finance, some form of savings, micro insurance covers, payments and remittance through formal channels and access to other financials services, enable more and more Ni-Vanuatu to uplift themselves and their families toward going into business, higher incomes, risk-protected assets, and brighter futures.
In other word, abound economic opportunities, sound and stable financials system provides for a fertile ground for proactive work on financial inclusion.
(2) Who should be financially included
Our goal is to mainstream our people accross the country as regular clients of our financial system, with particular emphasis on rural population, woman; youth, marginalized groups, MSMEs and agricultural reform sectors. These sectors are typically unserved or underserversed by conventional financial services providers.
We must make sure that we include all Ni- Vanuatu that are not in the banking system
The NFIS aims to provide effective access to a wider range of financial products and services.
(3) What should we do achieve financial inclusion
With a clear vision and target market to serve, the next steps is to implement the National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The NFIS spells out High-level principles and systematic strategies, its presents the coordination structure that will guide the implementation of the strategy across government and private sector; ensure policy and program cohesion and seeks to promote multi-sectoral synergies.
The NFIS strategics statement and clesr objective serve as guide to all stakeholders when designing financial inclusion policies and programs.
At the end, to achieve financial inclusion, we want the banks to be more flexible to accommodate every people of this country.
Moving forward – Implementation
Moving forward, we need data to guide and inform us if we are on the right track; to evaluate if we need to refine our tactical plans; and to help us calibrate our policies and program accordingly.
we have invited multi-sectoral representative here today because that you can play a significant role the succesful implementation of our NFIS. As key stakeholders we hope you will help the Government and the Reserve Bank in measuring and monitoring the progress of our financial inclusion initiatives.
Ladies and gentlemen, we need your cooperation, colaboration and overall support to ensure that financial inclusion becomes a reality throughout Vanuatu.
We noted from the survey conducted by the RVB in 2016 that we have a long way to go to achieve greater financial inclusion. The surveys also tell us that there are plenty of opportunities for those looking to expand their business oe introduce game-changing innovations.
Clearly, we will need broad-based cooperation, collaboration from local and international institution to address these gaps. Together, i believe we can make substantial gains on our financial inclusion targets and the National Financial inclusion strategy provides the opportunity and the platform for us to be able to address some of these concerns:
1. The banks operating in Vanuatu are not helping the business to grow by maintaining high interest rates and strong criteria on the terms and the terms and conditions of loans;
2. The banks do not have the confidence on the Ni-Vanuatu at the level of head quarter and in particular at the level of branches.
As it stands, the Ni- Vanuatu does not trust the banking system because of:
· High interest rate on loans and very low interest rate on fixed deposit and savings;
· Strong borrowing requirements;
· Excessive banking fees:
The result is that the Ni-Vanuatu does not bank his or her money and he or she is more and more tempted to use financial scammed organized.
3. It is the Gouvernment intention to invite new banks to establish in Vanuatu to ensure that NFIS aims can be achieved for the best interrest of the customers: the people of Vanuatu.
4. We urge the Reserve Bank and the stakholders to finalize the draft Financial Consumer Protection ( FCP) Regulation in order to deal severly with the owners / directors of the financials scammed organizations who remain free persons today enjoying all their rights even though they stole the people’s money.
Excellences, Colleagues Ministers, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,
With your support, and the commitment of everybody in this room as co-implementers of the Financial Inclusion Strategy, i believe we are on our way to a meaningful and fruitful journey toward financial inclusion for all Ni-Vanuatu. In a recent letter to me, Governor Athy describes this strategy as ” the last missing piece of our country’s nation development tools”. And that is true in a lot of sense.
So let us therefore forge partnership that will empower more Ni-Vanuatu to improve their lives through access to responsive, responsible and fair financial services.
Thank you for joining us on this special occasion
I thank you all for your attention !