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Speech by GMRS, Mr. Tevita Madigibuli on the ocassion of the presentation of the 2010 Money $mart award for rural category to Rampur College, Navua
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13 July 2011

 

  

(Salutations)

Namaste and ni sa bula vinaka. Thank you for those very kind words of welcome, it is certainly a pleasure to be here to present to you, the 2010 Money $mart™ award for the Rural Category.

Five years ago when FDB, the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of
Education came together to pu t together a financial literacy programme for secondary school students at the Form 3 level, the idea was to teach young people the skills for better financial management.

This was not a venture undertaken on a whim, but rather as a
recognized need based on experiences by the Bank when trying to help its older, more mature clients manage their finances so that loans taken do not fall into arrears.
 

The Bank was committed to create Money Smart because as a
responsible corporate citizen, we wanted to be part of the learning process in ensuring that our future generation was well equipped to manage money. Our mission as a development financier is linked directly to the economic development and quality of life of the people of Fiji.

Between 2007 when Money $mart™ was first implemented to this
2011, over 80,000 children in 163 secondary schools in Fiji have benefitted from this programme. Between 2007 and 2010, schools that submitted their books for moderation as well as students’ savings results, show just over $822,000 in accumulated savings.

This savings reported by the respective schools to the Ministry of
Education and does not accurately account for ALL savings by students Fiji-wide as not all schools have reported their savings results. Based on a roll of approximately 16,100 students entering Form 3 each year and the average savings reported each year since between 2007 and 2010, I place the accumulated savings results closer to $1.73 million. This is a phenomenal amount of money when you consider that students are the ones who have saved this amount.

At this juncture, I urge all schools to report student savings so we
can have a more accurate picture of how well or badly, the savings component of Money $mart™ is working. Over the years, savings reports have fluctuated between 34% -72% of total students enrolled during the respective years.

With the end of the Fiji Junior Certificate Examination last year,
the Bank saw an opportunity to expand Money $mart™ into 4th form with Invest $mart™ - now making it a two-year programme.

The goal with Invest $mart™ is to get students to learn about
investment opportunities for their savings as well as create and
maintain a good savings and investment plan.

For its part the Bank has also invested close to $210,000 of its own finances to equip schools and students with the e ersources necessary to enable our future generations become smarter about managing their personal finances.

While this was the underlying goal of Money $mart™, we found
that for non-urban students in particular, a generation of
entrepreneurs is emerging. This is so because outside of the main towns and cities, students do not get a weekly allowance from their parents, therefore they were more likely to perform chores or odd jobs for neighbours and family members to earn a few extra dollars that they could put towards their savings. Similarly, students who had access to fruits and vegetables, sold these fresh produce to also earn the money they needed to put into their savings account.

This is exactly what Fiji needs at this time – a generation of
entrepreneurs. If Fiji is to improve economically, we need people
who are unafraid to take risks and willing to work hard to make their enterprises a success.

When you leave school, only a handful of you will be able continue
onto university and to paid employment. Start looking around you and explore opportunities for alternative employment – selfemployment. Be it farming, a small jam and chutney making enterprise or running an engein repair business, the Fiji Development Bank is there to assist you with the capital you will need to start and grow your business. Certainly if we see that you have the skills to manage your personal and business finances, it will be easier for you to get that loan.

Your effort and diligence has led to 100% compliance in the
opening of a savings account by your students with each of the 97 students participating, averaging savings of $31.10 each –a very good effort indeed! Overall, you managed to save $3,015.85 in 12 weeks. Your average savings is the se cond highest of the four schools that will be awarded this year for the respective categories.
My heartiest congratulations to each of you students, teachers and parents for a job well done!

Vinaka vaka levu and dhanyavaad.

 

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