‘Extend financial services to destitute people’

Kathmandu, September 20 :

Micro-finance experts today urged concerned authorities to increase access of financial services to disadvantaged sections of the people across the country to improve their economic status.

Tory Clawson, country director of Save the Children USA, speaking at a programme on ‘Building Inclusive Financial System for Economic Development’ spoke of the need to increase access of financial services to women and disadvantaged sections of people in Nepal, particularly in the context of inclusive democracy in Nepal.

Clawson said it is the first time that Save the Children USA is focusing on the economic sector in a bid to increase access of deprived people to resources, as they also possess creative and useful ideas for increasing economic activities in the society.

Tulasi Prasad Uprety, board member of the Centre for Micro-finance, mentioned about inclusive financial services for economic development in Nepal. Uprety said that an inclusive financial service does not exclude poor and low-income people from accessing credit, insurance, remittances and savings.

He stressed on the fact that social inclusion demands accessing financial services to groups and communities that are not being easily included in socio-political framework such as Dalits and indigenous people.

Uprety said that banks are concentrated mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. However, micro-finance institutions are at the village level too, he mentioned. Micro-finance is a tool for the supply of loans, savings and other financial services to the poor, says Uprety.

Man Bahadur BK at Save the Children USA, while presenting a paper on Issues of Inclusive Financial System, said that in most developing economies, financial services are only available to a minority of population.

He alleged despite financial sectors having expanded, they usually remain highly concentrated in the hands of a few. He said that micro-finance needed population is 1.10 million and access to micro finance is limited to only 40 per cent of this population.

BK said that mostly rural population has a harder time accessing financial services and mobile population has even less access to financial services. He opined that an inclusive financial system is the backbone of inclusive democracy.