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Speech by CEO for FDB on the ocassion of the signing of the MOU
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07 October 2013

WELCOME AND SPEECH BY

CEO FOR FDB, RATU DEVE TOGANIVALU 

ON THE OCASSION OF THE SIGNING OF THE MOU

FOR MONEY SMART™ AND INVEST SMART™

FDB HEAD OFFICE, SUVA.

 

Dr. Brij Lal, the permanent secretary for education and the senior team from the Ministry of Education. Members of EXCO and the media; ladies and gentlemen. A very warm welcome to you all this morning and to the signing of the Money Smart™ and Invest Smart™ MOU between FDB and the Ministry of Education. Today we create another landmark for our children on the financial literacy landscape. The signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Education and the Fiji Development Bank, maps the next three years of financial assistance that the FDB will provide towards creating greater financial literacy amongst our children.

 

When we started on this journey with the Ministry in 2006, we did so based on experience and knowledge of just how difficult it was to get our clients to understand the importance of simple things such as budgeting, planning and differentiating between their personal and business incomes in the course of managing their enterprise. We tried the financial literacy training amongst the adult clients of the bank and found that it met with very little success because sometimes, old habits are really hard to break. After some thought, we felt that it would perhaps be better if we institutionalised financial literacy training and the best time to begin that inculcation of good money sense is amongst young people and this is how Money Smart™ came to be. In 2007 Money Smart™ was introduced into 162 secondary schools in Fiji and one in Tuvalu at the Year 9 level as part of the Commercial Studies syllabus. The key elements for Money Smart™ include budgeting, opening a savings account and starting a savings plan. Each year between 14-16,000 children benefit from Money Smart™.

 

In 2010 at the conclusion of the Fiji Junior Certificate Examination (FJCE) an opportunity arose to further expand Money Smart™ and to this end, we again joined forces with the Ministry and introduced the Invest Smart™ component – effectively making this a two-year programme, which is compulsory in all secondary schools around Fiji. Introduced into the Commercial Studies curriculum in 2011 at Year 10, Invest Smart™ builds on the foundations of Money Smart™ by teaching students how to identify opportunities for investing their savings. It encourages them to learn more about the financial markets and where their money can receive the best returns. Each year, a further 12-14,000 students benefit from Invest Smart™.

 

Since 2007, FDB has provided close to $216,571 in funding for these two programmes. For the next three years starting this financial year, FDB will commit a further $73,584 for the monitoring and evaluation of the resource materials as well as the students’ savings and investment in addition to financing the ongoing training and up skilling of the teachers who teach Money Smart™ and Invest Smart™.

 

The bank’s commitment to financial literacy stems from a desire to see our future generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, workers and parents show a level of competence when it comes to managing their personal or business finances. A lack of understanding about money, its value, how to spend it wisely and how it can be acquired is part of what contributes to poverty amongst our people.

 

Last year, the National Financial Inclusion Task Force worked on putting together a National Financial Literacy Strategy (2013- 2015) that is currently before cabinet for a decision. In that strategy there are six strategic objectives set and of that, strategic objective 2:

To strengthen and enhance the coordination of and development of effective financial literacy programs for formal and informal sectors is linked to what we’re here for today. I am quite proud to note here, that FDB and the Ministry of Education had partnered and started this process even before financial literacy as a discourse made it onto the national agenda.

 

As a development financier, our mission is linked directly to improving economic development and the quality of life for Fiji and her people. As a responsible corporate citizen, it makes sense that by providing financial literacy education to our young people in their formative years we can look forward to an improved quality of life for our people in the latter years. The best part of this is – all our children, whether they are in an urban centre or in the remotest of locations, as long as they have access to secondary education, they will receive the benefits of Money Smart™ and Invest Smart™.

 

For FDB, this is an investment that we know for certain, will bear fruit that the whole of Fiji will enjoy in the years to come. With those few words, I welcome you all once again and look forward to formalising the MOU.

Vinaka.

END

 

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