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Financial inclusion for all by 2024

  • Published at 10:36 pm August 9th, 2018
NFIS
Speakers at a national workshop on the NFIS, jointly organized by Bangladesh Bank and the Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance, at The Westin in Dhaka on Thursday, August 9, 2018 Courtesy

Financial inclusion is defined as access to the full range of financial services at an affordable rate for everyone, with minimum risk through a competitive financial marketplace

The time period for implementation of the first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) for Bangladesh has been set from 2019-2024 in the draft of the strategy.

Financial inclusion is defined as access to the full range of financial services at an affordable rate for everyone, with minimum risk through a competitive financial marketplace.

The time period was set in line with the government target to graduate to middle income country status by 2024.

The announcement was made at a national workshop on the NFIS, jointly organized by Bangladesh Bank and the Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance, at The Westin in Dhaka on Thursday. The event was supported by the Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) project funded by UKAID.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith was the chief guest at the workshop, and State Minister MA Mannan was the guest of honor. Principal Coordinator of SDGs affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Division Secretary (In charge) Abdur Rouf Talukder, and DFID Bangladesh Country Representative Jane Edmondson were special guests.

Financial Institutions Division Additional Secretary Arijit Chowdhury delivered the welcome speech, while NFIS Lead Consultant Dr MK Mujeri shared his experience on the preparation process for the strategy. Bangladesh Bank Deputy Director Asif Iqbal gave a presentation on the NFIS for Bangladesh.

Finance Ministry Senior Secretary Md Eunusur Rahman moderated an open discussion on the NFIS at the workshop.

At the discussion, Finance Minister AMA Muhith stressed the need for increasing the number of bank branches in the country to ensure financial inclusion.

“There are fewer than 10,000 bank branches in the country, and this is not enough. The number of bank branches needs to be increased,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Minister MA Mannan said there had been a number of reforms under the current government, and he was looking forward to more reforms in order to raise financial inclusion.

PMO SDG Affairs Principal Coordinator Abul Kalam Azad emphasized the need for reforms in the insurance sector to raise financial inclusion.

Feisal Hussain, team leader for the UKAID funded Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) project, said: “BFP-B is proud to have served the Bangladesh government in drafting this landmark National Financial Inclusion Strategy for Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor Ahmed Jamal delivered the vote of thanks at the program.

Bangladesh committed to developing the NFIS for Bangladesh in 2014, as a signatory to the Maya Declaration. The commitment was reiterated in 2015, during the Bangladesh visit of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands by the capacity of UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).

The NFIS for Bangladesh initiative began in 2016, and the final draft of the strategy and a diagnostic report is to be submitted to the Cabinet of the Government of Bangladesh for approval in October this year.

In accordance with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision for sustainable financial inclusion in Bangladesh, the country’s flagship “Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar” financial inclusion project began in 2009.