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Financial literacy among youths as key to national development

By Efe Ebelo/Abuja

In 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) embarked on a reform programme designed to reposition the Nigerian Financial sector for greater impact on the country’s growth and development. An important aspect of the programme is consumer protection and financial literacy.

Then in 2011, the financial regulators and policy makers from over 80 developing countries including Nigeria, gathered in Mexico and made a set of commitments to increase the number of persons that have access to and use formal financial services in their respective countries. Nigeria made a commitment to reduce the number of persons that have no access to financial services from the current 46.3 per cent by the year 2020. In pursuit of this objective, a National Financial Inclusion Strategy was subsequently developed by the CBN and launched by President Goodluck Jonathan in October 2012.

An essential component of the strategy is financial literacy framework which articulates a strategic direction for the delivery of financial education in Nigeria. The framework encompasses a multi stakeholder approach to the delivery of financial literacy programmes across various target groups of the population. The target groups include children and youths, with the ultimate goal of the framework according to the CBN, being to empower Nigerians with the knowledge to make informed financial decisions that would enhance their well being.

It was therefore in pursuance of these objectives that the Apex bank recently organized a series of events to mark the 2013 Global Money Week.

During the week, the bank engaged in a series of activities organized to create financial literacy awareness and education by actively engaging children and youth.

It all began with a road show tagged ‘Global Walk for Money’ which took off from the Old Parade Ground in Abuja, went through major parts of the city and ended at the CBN corporate headquarters in Abuja.

School pupils dressed in their sportswear moved round the city distributing leaflets to sensitize the public on the importance of financial literacy.

At the CBN headquarters, they were received by Acting Director, Consumer Protection Department, Hajiya Umma Dutse who urged parents and guardians of the Nigerian youth to provide them the necessary financial knowledge and skills as well as inculcate in them positive behavioural changes that would help them grow and become financially independent and prudent leaders of tomorrow.

She said the need for leaders to create financial awareness among the youth had become more imperative than ever since in them lies the fulfillment of the vision of an economically developed and prosperous nation.

Dutse, who recalled recent initiatives undertaken by the regulatory financial institution to promote financial inclusion amongst those who had hitherto been excluded within the economy, particularly the grassroots women and youth, said the ‘Global Walk for Money’ was part of the global  Child and Youth Finance Week  which was commemorated globally yesterday.

She said in pursuit of its National Financial Inclusion strategy, the bank has developed a Financial Literacy Framework which articulates a multi-stakeholder approach to the delivery of financial literacy programmes across various target groups.

“Children and youths form part of this target groups and today’s event is one of the programmes identified as a means of reaching them. it is only through equipping these young persons that we can be rest assured that the future of this great country would be in the hands of financially capable leaders who are able to manage, not only their personal financial well-being but also the economy at large” she said.

According to her, by the CBN initiative which involved hundreds of school children in road show and other activities, the Bank has made Nigeria, for the first time, to join the comity of nations that have accepted and adopted the noble idea which is aimed at creating financial awareness and to engage children and youth on topics of finance.

She said: “The CBN has developed a Financial Literary Framework that articulates a strategic direction for a multi stakeholder approach to the delivery of financial education programmes across various target groups in the Nigerian population. Children and Youth have been recognised in the framework as a very important and critical target group for financial literary initiatives.

“Events like today’s are part of a series of activities that have been identified in the framework as veritable means of creating financial education and awareness amongst children and youth in Nigeria. The children and youth are the future leaders in whom the destiny of our great nation lies. In them lies the fulfillment of our vision of an economically developed and prosperous nation.

“It is my firm believe and conviction that we must invest in the future of our children and youth. we must accordingly give them, at an early age, the opportunity to acquire financial knowledge and skills; we must inculcate positive attitudinal and behavioral changes in them from an early age so that they may grow to become financially independent, capable and prudent leaders”, Hadjia Dutse added.

She pointed out that it is through equipping the young ones with the right, adequate knowledge and skills that leaders can be rest assured that the future of the country is secured and would be managed by financially capable leaders.

Then came the presentation of Business Plan by the pupils in a keenly contested Business Plan competition.

 

Winners

At the end of the Business Plans presentation, Faith Samuel Fajilo of Junior Secondary School, Garki- Abuja emerged winner and received a cash prize of N200, 000, Austine Ojeabuo of Government Secondary School Jikwoyi came second and took home a cash prize of N150, 000 while Winnifed Chinwendu of Jikwoyi Junior School came third with a cash prize of N100, 000.

Two other students who came 4th and 5th in the Contest carted home N25, 000 cash prizes each.

In his remarks at the grand finale event, CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, restated the importance of financial literacy to Nigeria’s ongoing transformation agenda, saying that in the pursuit of the agenda students and youth must be specially focused on.

He pointed out that prioritisation of children in the national financial literacy drive was necessary to build a strong financially literate human capital base for sustainable development and to enable the children make informed choices and better utilise financial products and services.

Sanusi, who was represented by Tunde Lemo, Deputy Governor Operations, made the submission at grand finale of the Financial Literacy Fair and Exhibition to mark the 2013 Child and Youth Finance Week which was concluded in Abuja

According to him, in furtherance of the apex bank’s financial inclusion drive, a financial literacy framework which articulates a strategic direction for the delivery of financial education in Nigeria has been developed.

Sanusi said: “The framework encompasses a Multi stakeholder approach to the delivery of financial literacy programmes across various target groups of the population. One of these target groups is the Nigerian children and youth.

“The ultimate goal of the framework is to empower Nigerians with the knowledge to make informed financial decisions that would enhance their well being” he added.

Expatiating further, the banking expert argued that as children and leaders of tomorrow, the growth and development of Nigeria rests with the children and as such, we must be interested in their development by investing in their future.

He disclosed that in 2009, the bank embarked on a reform programme designed to reposition the Nigerian financial sector for greater impact on the country’s growth and development adding that an important aspect of the programme is consumer protection and financial literacy.

The children also had the opportunity of visiting the financial literacy fair and exhibition which was held within the bank’s premises. There they had the opportunity to learn about financial products and services and interacted with financial literacy experts.

The series of activities ended with a visit by the students to the CBN currency museum which provided a firsthand perspective of the historical evolution of the Nigerian currency as well as the transformation of the payment and exchange systems from the middle ages to the present day.

The Child and Youth finance week is celebrated globally to propagate financial literacy so that children and youth would have access to safe and trustworthy financial services.

It an initiative of the global Child and Youth Finance Movement,  which is celebrated every year globally has the mission of ensuring that children and youth have access to safe and trustworthy financial  services and that they acquire the skills, knowledge and opportunities required to use the services responsibly and prudently.

It is also intended to make them acquire requisite knowledge and skills to use these services responsibly and prudently.

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