Organisation welcomes government initiative

February 1, 2017

THE Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme has welcomed the step taken by the government to join the initiative in the transition from cash to digital payments in a bid to reduce poverty.

The latest government to join a UN alliance of governments and organisations committed to accelerating the transition which would lead to inclusive growth.

A statement from Government said Fiji’s membership fell under the Better than Cash Alliance (BTCA), which partnered governments, companies, and international organisations that were the key drivers behind the transition to make digital payments widely available.

PFIP manager Mark Flaming said “the program recognises that the Fijian Government is working toward creating an enabling environment for the digitisation of government payments. PFIP is eager to support the Fijian Government in the implementation of the alliance.”

Mr Fleming said in becoming a member, Fiji endorses the guiding principles of the alliance including:

* broad recognition of the benefits of replacing the use of physical cash with electronic payments;

* sharing of approaches and lessons learned in replacing the use of physical cash with electronic payment systems; and

* increased use of electronic payments systems in programs and operations to promote financial inclusion, increased transparency and efficiency.

PFIP is a Pacific-wide program helping low-income households gain access to financial services and financial education.

It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.

PFIP aims to add one million Pacific Islanders to the formal financial sector by 2019 by supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, disseminating market information, and empowering consumers.

PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

The Fijian Government has become the latest government to join a UN alliance of governments and organisations committed to accelerating the transition from cash to digital payments in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum endorsed Fiji’s membership under the BTCA and reiterated Fiji’s commitment to inclusive financial policies.

“Fiji is developing its financial sector to give as many Fijians as possible access to efficient and reliable financial services.

“We have already put in place a number of policies and initiatives that have harnessed the potential of digital innovation to increase public participation in our formal financial sector.

“And we are keen to work with our international partners to help meet our target of channelling 85 per cent of government payments through digital platforms by 2020,” he said.

The endorsement of the alliance was initiated by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Pacific-based flagship program, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).

Source: Fiji Times