Financial inclusion strategy to boost equitable access to products and services | Sunday Observer

Financial inclusion strategy to boost equitable access to products and services

7 March, 2021

The Central Bank launched the ‘National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS)’ at a ceremony held in Colombo on Thursday.

The launch symbolised by presenting the NFIS strategy to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Governor of the Central Bank Professor W D Lakshman.

State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives David Holly and International Finance Corporation (IFC) Country Head for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Amena Arif were present.

With an aspiring vision of “Better Quality Inclusion for Better Lives”, the NFIS strives towards a financially inclusive Sri Lanka where people and enterprises in Sri Lanka are well-informed and have fair and equitable access to a range of high-quality, appropriate, secure and affordable financial products and services that they can use to contribute to economic growth and improve their living standards. The development of the NFIS was a multi-stakeholder effort led by the Central Bank which encompassed the expertise of public and private sector institutions across the economy.

The NFIS is strategically designed to align all isolated efforts of financial inclusion taken by various entities in the economy into a single direction, having noted the potential higher yield of these efforts. The technical and financial assistance for the NFIS development project was provided by the IFC under the “IFC-DFAT Women in Work Project”, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government.

As a part of the NFIS, a time-bound Action Plan which sets up delegated actions for each stakeholder has been introduced. The monitoring and evaluation of the NFIS Action Plan and providing appropriate policy guidance will be carried out by the national level Management Entities of the NFIS and the Regional Development Department of the Central Bank with the support of the NFIS Secretariat. Regional Development Department 04.03.2021 With the launch of the NFIS, Sri Lanka joins more than 60 countries around the world who have taken similar initiatives to improve financial inclusion landscapes to reach sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

In line with the NFIS Launch, a Panel Discussion on the NFIS was held today from 2.30 p.m to 3.30 p.m with the participation of Ajith Nivard Cabral, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Prof W D Lakshman, Governor of the Central Bank, J P R Karunaratne, Assistant Governor of the Central Bank, Channa De Silva, General Manager /CEO, Lanka Clear, Samadanie Kiriwandeniya, Managing Director, SANASA International (Pvt) Ltd, M Ramamoorthy, Director General (Planning), State Ministry of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self-Employment, Business Development and Underutilised State Resources Development, as Panellists.

The session was moderated by Senior Prof H.D. Karunarathna, Chair Professor of Business Economics, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo.