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BoU launches National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2028

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Simon Kabayo
Simon Kabayohttps://eagle.co.ug
Reporter whose work is detailed

BoU launches National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023-2028

Bank of Uganda in collaboration with its partners has launched the second National Financial Inclusion Strategy II (NFISII) 2023-2028 at Four Points Hotel in Kampala following the expiry of the first strategy (NFIS I) 2017-2022.

The vision of the second strategy is; “universal access and usage of a broad range of quality and affordable formal financial products and services delivered in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

Launching the strategy, Michael Atingi-Ego, BoU Deputy Governor said that the financial inclusion has emerged as a cornerstone of global development, fueling progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and broader aspirations.

“Financial inclusion is pivotal in uplifting low-income and marginalised households from poverty by expanding access to essential financial services. Together, guided by our collaborative first NFIS, we have broken down barriers and opened doors to transformative financial services for millions of Ugandans. New regulations have enabled agent banking to flourish, bringing banking services to villages,” Michael Atingi-Ego said.

He added that the government services can now be accessed digitally, thanks to e-verification and e-payment gateways. And landmark legislation like the National Payment Systems Act and the Security Interest in Movable Property Act has laid critical legal foundations.

“Even in the depths of an unprecedented pandemic, we saw the acceleration of a new digital culture taking root as Ugandans increasingly relied on mobile money, cards, and online payments. Covid-19 showed us that great adversity often carries the seeds of innovation,” he noted.

The National Financial Inclusion Strategy II (NFIS II) aligns with the BoU’s strategic plan (2022-2027), with initiatives to foster financial inclusion through digital financial services, effective regulatory frameworks, appropriate infrastructure, partnerships, innovation, and consumer protection. It also emphasizes the soundness and resilience of the financial system.

At the heart of NFIS II lies a deep-rooted commitment to empowering underserved segments, including women, smallholder farmers, forcibly displaced persons, youth, MSMEs, rural dwellers, and people with disabilities. We recognise their unique challenges and are committed to tailoring financial solutions that address their specific needs.

The Minister of Finance, Planning & Economic Development, Matia Kasaija said that financial inclusion is vital for the national development agenda and it helps in growing the economy, reducing poverty and creating jobs by supporting entrepreneurship and business expansion as well as promoting gender equality and promoting rural development.

“We need to reduce access barriers to formal financial sectors. We need to deepen usage of affordable and quality financial products. We must work to strengthen financial consumer protection and capabilities,” Minister Kasaija said.

Acting Director Economic Affairs, Moses Kaggwa who represented Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi said compared to 2017, more Ugandans now have a financial account, more have access to credit when they need it and more are able to save.

“A big success has been the rapid increase in financial access points from 548 per 100,000 adults in 2017 to 2,386 per 100,000 in 2022. Active banking agents have increased from 133 in 2017 to 25,635 in June 2023,” Kaggwa said.

Regarding Parish Development Model (PDM), Kaggwa said Shs1.13 trillion had been disbursed by mid- November, 2023 to 10,585 SACCOs. Shs974.8 billion has so far been loaned to 965,243 beneficiaries.

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