January 24, 2017
Tongatapu, Tonga – A team from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) will be assisting the National Reserve Bank of Tonga (NRBT) this week in conducting extensive consultations with government agencies, the private sector, financial service providers and non-profit organizations in the lead up to the development of Tonga’s first National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
PFIP is providing technical support to the NRBT who will be leading the compilation of the strategy and coordinating financial inclusion activities.
Last year, the NRBT, with the assistance of the PFIP and the Bankable Frontier Association (BFA), conducted a survey on the financial services demand side and some of its findings will assist NRBT in identifying the areas that needs more attention.
The National Financial Inclusion Strategy is expected to be launched in April 2017 together with the Demand Side Survey (DSS) Report. Stakeholders will be presented the outcome of the DSS and the consultations, as well as the resulting National Financial Inclusion Strategy developed to address the gaps identified and promote financial inclusion in Tonga.
A National Committee for Financial Inclusion would then be established to be responsible for determining the implementation model for the National Financial Inclusion Strategy together with action plans and targets.
The Strategy will complement the Tongan Strategic Development Framework (2015-2025), focusing on strengthening Tonga’s economic institutions through an enabling business environment supported by a robust, inclusive financial system, and more effective public/private partnerships. The consultations will inform the Strategy’s focus on the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society and the importance of financial literacy and consumer protection for Tongans.
In other Pacific countries, the strategy has led to the formation of National Financial Inclusion Taskforces, a grouping of key stakeholders from the financial industry and government tasked with ensuring the achievement of the strategies.
Consultations end on Friday 27th January 2017, before the team flies back to Fiji.