Kathmandu, September 30
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Governor Chiranjibi Nepal has said that the availability of data and information on banking and financial access and inclusion will help the government in formulating necessary policies and programmes targeting the rural areas.
Speaking at the launch of Nepal Financial Inclusion Portal in the Capital today, Governor Nepal said that the portal will provide information and data from very rural parts of the country where the government and regulators can’t reach immediately. “It is very important for policymakers as they can develop policies and financial strategies by referring to this portal.”
“This portal will help both the government and central bank to develop financial infrastructure to increase financial access, which is a must for the economic growth of the country,” said Nepal, delivering his keynote speech during the launch.
The Nepal Financial Inclusion Portal, launched by NRB Governor Nepal, is an innovative tool to help regulatory bodies, financial service providers and infrastructure providers build in-roads to help the financially excluded become financially independent. It enables commercial banks, development banks, finance companies, microfinance companies and non-bank payment service providers to report their data in a systematic manner.
NRB with support of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has set up this portal, which provides real time information and data to map out a realistic picture of financial access and usage. Some of the core functions of the portal are measuring financial inclusion and generating analytical reports to facilitate data driven policy intervention.
Stating that the country has recently moved toward the implementation of the federal structure, the governor said that the newly launched portal will also support all central, provincial and local governments to make economic development sustainable and to reach out to the people for complete access of government services.
Highlighting that NRB has become one of the major sources and access points for financial information, Nepal said that the new portal will help the central bank in disseminating information. He also vowed to gradually upgrade the portal in days to come.
Also speaking at the ceremony as a keynote speaker, Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe, deputy country director of UNDP, said that financial inclusion and access can be increased through literacy and use of technology.
She pointed out various barriers for financial inclusion like lack of literacy, distance that people have to travel, lack of savings and income and trust in banking or financial institutions.
Lauding that Nepal has been progressing ‘slowly and steadily’ in the journey to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, she also said that the initiative is a very good opportunity for Nepal which has been championing SDGs and currently implementing the federal structure.
“One of the aims of the SDGs is to leave no one behind. The challenge that we have in front of us is how to get financial access, literacy, infrastructure and technology to these 753 local units,” she said.
Similarly, Francois Coupienne of UNCDF, said that data offers tremendous opportunities for policymakers. “If data is available, you can know the needs and behaviours of consumers,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on October 01, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.