July 26, 2018
Suva, Fiji – The announcement of the Fiji 2018 – 2019 national budget has been met with encouragement by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) as direct actions are being made to deepen financial access in Fiji.
As a party to the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Maya Declaration and the United Nation’s Better Than Cash Alliance, the Fijian Government is making concerted efforts to promote financial inclusion.
In his budget announcement speech, Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications Hon. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum said the 2018 – 2019 budget was making a big push towards financial inclusion.
“This budget empowers Fijian families, laying out new and better economic opportunities for every member of every family in the country. This is a budget that gives a leg-up to families who need special care; those in rural and remote parts of Fiji, those with low-income as well as families who are facing tragic and unforeseen circumstances.” he said.
The budget contains measures that will see over 100,000 Fijians receiving bundled insurance paid for by Government, a push toward a cashless economy through the removal of all electronic transaction fees and the opening of new bank accounts for every baby born to parents whose household income is below $30,000.
Full details on these measures:
The budget works towards achieving many of the targets set out in Fiji’s 5 and 20-year National Development Plans and Fiji’s National Financial Inclusion Strategic Plan (NFIS) 2016-2020. Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Arif Ali said the budget would definitely help in the achievement of Fiji’s NFIS.
“Through the allocation of appropriate resources, the Government shows its commitment to prioritising financial inclusion. The 2018/2019 budget addresses three major drivers of financial inclusion: access to financial services, insurance and digitization of financial services,” he said.
PFIP’s Programme Manager Bram Peters applauded the efforts made by the Fijian Government and its leadership in the Pacific region by implementing programmes that will provide a direct entry point for Fijians into the formal financial sector.
“We are also pleased to see that FijiCare’s bundled microinsurance, which was piloted in Fiji with support from PFIP was mentioned as an appropriate insurance model by the Fijian Government and we recognize the Government honoring its commitment to the BTCA through its push to increase electronic payments.” he said.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.98 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. 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.