The Government through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has launched a four-year (2019-2023) National Financial Inclusion Strategy of Liberia (NFISL) for inclusive economic growth and development.
The launch, which was held in the auditorium of the CBL on Friday, December 13, 2019, aims to promote access to financial services through digital channels in the country in a coordinated and focused manner.
From the perspective of monetary authorities, evidence shows that financial inclusion is crucial for promoting not only financial stability, in terms of efficient funding sources, but also relevant for supporting private sector development and monetary stability.
The Strategy, which was developed with technical support from the World Bank, also seeks to drive the financial inclusion agenda of Pillars I and II under the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) as part of the Government’s objective.
Speaking at the launch of the occasion, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Samora Wolokolie, commended the CBL and the World Bank Liberia Country Office for the technical and professional leadership role-play in the development of the NFIS.
Minister Wolokolie, who launched the financial inclusion strategy on behalf of President George M. Weah, said, “Our active participation and commitment to furthering the NFISL agenda is very essential to its success.”
He said as a champion of financial inclusion “we need to hit the ground running, to operationalize this strategy, and it will require perseverance, collaborating spirit, focus attention and diligence.”
Minister Wolokolie added that having Liberians drafting and accepting an almost cashless economy, and drifting away from normal traditional cash transaction-driving economy is something that is very hard, “but we all need to accept the result.”
He said; “On behalf of Dr. George M. Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, I hereby declare the NFISL of 2019-2023 duly and operationally launched.”
At the same time, Dr. Musa Dukuly, CBL Deputy Governor for Economic Policy/Officer in Charge, said the bank has been wheeling the design and implementation of monetary policy to achieve its core mandate. He said the process requires consistent innovation and strategy aimed at engendering a conducive environment for price and financial sector stability.
In Liberia, he said, the heightened inflationary pressure in recent times has threatened financial sector stability and induced a speculative attack on the domestic currency.
According to him, the Bank has been conducting comprehensive research on the dynamics of foreign currency deposits and asset quality and found them to be significantly linked to structural constraints, including moderate economic competitiveness, macroeconomic instability, and financial sector underdevelopment.
Dr. Dukuly added; “From the perspective of monetary authorities, evidence shows that financial inclusion is crucial for promoting not only financial stability, in terms of efficient funding mechanism, but also relevant for supporting private sector development.”
He said in order to improve the viability and confidence of the financial sector, the Management of the CBL, in collaboration with other partners, is spearheading the launch of another futuristic vision, which will translate enormous benefits to the financial sector.
“On this occasion, I am delighted to inform you that the CBL, with support from the World Bank, has concluded the development of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). Indeed, this meeting today is intended to seek your inclusiveness relating to the launch of this Strategy based on what I can describe as “Financial Inclusion in Liberia: How far we have come and where are we headed?” It is imperative to note that the Strategy also aims to promote access to financial services in a coordinated and focused manner through digital channels in Liberia,” he said.
Dr. Dukuly expressed the hope that the strategy will enhance the implementation of a national financial inclusion effort in Liberia to create an opportunity for the disadvantaged population to access financial services across the country.
In remarks, the Deputy Minister for Economic Management at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Augustus J. Flomo, told the gathering that over the last few years, there have been many strategic initiatives specifically focused on access to financial services, which remain dismally low.
“We believe that access to financial services for everybody, irrespective of your position along the economic ladder, will improve livelihoods of Liberians across all segments of society, especially the disadvantaged population,” he said.
Minister Flomo also explained that this government takes cardinal interest in the NFISL, as evidenced by its alignment with other government efforts such as Pillar I and II of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
He further said that the vision of the strategy is to build a sustainable financial sector that is deeply rooted in digital financial services that would ensure access to and enhance the usage of the formal financial sector.