Workshop on National Financial Inclusion Strategy for Bangladesh (NFIS-B)

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On Thursday 9 August 2018, a national-level workshop on the country’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy was arranged by Bangladesh Bank and Financial Institution Division and supported by the Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) project funded by UK aid.

Finance sector representatives heard about the preparation process behind the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, a public roadmap to bring more citizens into the formal finance sector.

Mr. A.M.A Muhith, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh joined as the chief guest and Mr. Muhammad Abdul Mannan, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh was present as the guest of honour.

Other special guests included, Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, Ms. Jane Edmondson, Country Representative, DFID Bangladesh, Mr. Abdur Rouf Talukder, Secretary (In-charge), Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Fazle Kabir, Governor, Bangladesh Bank and Mr. Ahmed Jamal, Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank.

   Mr. A.M.A Muhith, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh speaking during the event. In his speech, Mr. Muhith stated “There are less than 101,000 banking institutions in a country of 160 million people, which is not enough.”

Mr. A.M.A Muhith, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh speaking during the event. In his speech, Mr. Muhith stated “There are less than 101,000 banking institutions in a country of 160 million people, which is not enough.”

Recognising the importance and tremendous potential of financial inclusion as a tool to create economic growth, Bangladesh is one of the 90 members of the global Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). As a part of its journey towards greater financial inclusion, drafting the NFIS is a primary step. 

The National Financial Inclusion Strategy aims to help fulfill the vision of the Government of Bangladesh to become a middle-income country by 2021, and a developed country by 2041. 

Five stages of strategy development

During the event, Dr. M.K. Mujeri, lead consultant of the NFIS-Bangladesh study report, discussed the development and advancement of financial inclusion products and services. Dr. Mujeria also highlighted the research elements of creating the strategy and analysis of the implementation process up to 2024. He further emphasised that the strategy was an evidence-based one and had been developed in five stages:

  • Information gathering and diagnostics

  • Stakeholder consultation

  • Strategy formulation

  • Product Diversification

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of the strategy.

6 strategic thrusts within NFIS

The highlights of the draft NFIS report was presented during the event. Dr. M.K. Mujeri further explained the six strategic thrusts within the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

  • Expand consumer choice and convenience with broader range of financial instruments

  • Strengthen interconnections between financial service providers and digital ecosystems

  • Build common industry infrastructure fit for future

  • Strengthen customer empowerment and protection

  • Prioritize women, youth and small businesses

  • Create enabling core policies and regulations

A final draft of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy will be submitted to the Cabinet of government by October. The Strategy has a 2019-2024 timeline coordinated with the government’s target to help the country graduate from least-developed country to middle-income country status.

Special guests then participated in an open discussion, highlighting the need for coordination between government and the private sector.

In a statement, Feisal Hussain, Team Leader for the UKAid funded Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) project said, “BFP-B is proud to have served the Government in drafting this landmark National Financial Inclusion Strategy of Bangladesh.”