A senior Bank Indonesia (BI) official says BI will cooperate with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to provide more Indonesians access to financial inclusion programs.
“Financial inclusion is believed to play an important role in reducing poverty,” Muliaman D. Hadad, BI’s deputy governor for banking research and regulation, said.
“There are 40 million people, or 17 percent of the total population, who do not have access to the financial industry, particularly the banking industry. They are mostly productive poor people.”
Speaking at a press conference for the BI-OECD Regional Asian Seminar on Financial Literacy Towards a National Strategy on Financial Education, Muliaman said financial education was one of the main programs needed improve people’s awareness of the financial industry. Meanwhile, OECD deputy secretary-general Richard Boucher said the OECD supported efforts to implement financial inclusion programs.
“We’ve been very supportive of the program. It is very well designed and keeps moving up. This is fundamental for the government, for the people and for the country as a whole. More people active in savings [programs] make the economy better,” he said.
Richard said the OECD would assist Indonesia by sharing its experience in implementing similar programs in other countries.
“We will work together to figure things out: What works, what doesn’t work. We have the best people to work together who can compare and design programs and give options,” he said.
Richard said Indonesia would face several challenges.
“Many people [live] in remote areas, so you have challenges of education and [consumer] protection. These things are not to be underestimated,” he said. Muliaman added that BI had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Education Ministry to improve financial education at schools.
“We also facilitate financial education programs for Indonesian migrant workers, housewives and members of religious communities,” he said. (swd)