Fiji Microfinance Institutions get a Boost from Financial Training

July 1, 2010

Fiji’s microfinance institutions came together for a two day training session on how to monitor the financial health of their organization. The training convened by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program was held at the Reserve Bank of Fiji on 30th June and 1st of July. It was attended by thirty five representatives from some of Fiji’s largest credit unions, microfinance institutions and including commercial banks.

The training programme showed participants how to use a tool known as the SEEP Framework to review financial statements, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. These statements make up any company’s “bill of health”, and by using the skills taught during the workshop, participants can gain an insight into the potential for success or failure of a given company, including their own.

The result of the training is participants who are better prepared to analyse and manage their own institutions, and now possess a new powerful yet simple tool with which to do so. Eliki Boletawa Manager of Financial Systems Development at the Reserve Bank of Fiji spoke of the benefits of the training.

“SEEP has provided the microfinance institutions with a benchmark tool for improving financial reporting,” stated Mr Boletawa.

Participants highlighted the benefits the SEEP Framework tool could bring to their own organisation’s.

“Even as an accountant, I learned many things during this training. The SEEP Programme was very useful, and got at the real issues financial institutions are currently facing,” commented Selwyn Talasasa from the Solomon Islands Credit Union League.

Dorinda Work from Microfinance West spoke of its value as a tool for analysis.

“Microfinance institutions need to focus on proper reporting and data analysis. I see value in the SEEP tool, as it will help identify our weaknesses so that we can improve them. I am sure that we will all start using SEEP,” stated Ms Work.

The RBF and PFIP work together on a number of levels to promote the expansion of quality financial services to low-income Fijians. PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), European Union, AusAID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.