Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar called for further expansion of mobile financial services (MFS) so that the marginal people are encouraged to adopt saving tools through MFS.
He made the call at a seminar on “Role of MFS in Enhancing Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh” organised by Innovation & Development Associates (iDEA) Foundation yesterday.
Md. Mezbaul Haque, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Lila Rashid, Former Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash, Dr. Ahsan Mansur, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute, and Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Chairperson, iDEA Foundation and former Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) also attended the seminar.
Mohammad Shahidul Haque, Secretary of iDEA Foundation and former senior secretary, gave a welcome speech while Vice Chairman of iDEA Foundation and former Principal Secretary and Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs) Md. Abul Kalam Azad moderated the event.
Mustafa Jabbar said, "Bangladesh is making great progress in terms of technology and the government has managed to bring almost 98 percent of the country under 4G coverage, for which the country's telcos deserve praise.”
“Along with this, we are working to strengthen digital security in the country,” he added.
The minister said, “The general people of the country are playing the biggest role behind the revolution that is taking place in the MFS sector today. I would appeal to the concerned institutions to keep up the progress in this sector to make it more advanced, easier and safer for public welfare.” “One scheme that I would particularly like to see involves creating money-saving benefits in mobile banking services. I am hopeful that our countrymen will work together to build Digital Bangladesh a Smart Bangladesh.”
Md. Mezbaul Haque, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, said, "Bangladesh can be called the world champion in mobile banking services. The biggest achievement of this service is making financial transactions accessible and easy to people from all walks of life, especially people from remote areas who are deprived of banking facilities.” “MFS has undoubtedly made the country's economic sector stronger and more accessible." Hussain A Samad, Deputy Secretary and Chief Researcher, iDEA Foundation said, "Financial inclusion is not only about financial access, but we must also check whether this service is viable, feasible and effective for long-term use.”
“Fifty nine percent of adult men and women worldwide and 43 percent in Bangladesh do not have a bank account. Additionally, poor people in remote areas did not even have access to banking services.”
“Now MFS has completely changed that by giving rural people easy access to financial benefits. A good sign of a country’s advancing development is when people from all walks of life achieve financial transaction facilities,” Samad said.
Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Vice Chairman of iDEA Foundation, said, "We would actually like to get everyone's suggestions, opinions and cooperation regarding today's discussion.” “Even though the concept of mobile banking is relatively new in the context of Bangladesh, it has already gained wide popularity and will play a groundbreaking role in shaping the future of the country.”
“Rural or remote areas have more mobile banking users than traditional banking services. We hope this sector will grow further and enrich the banking experience of the country’s people.”
Kazi M. Aminul Islam, Chairperson of iDEA Foundation, concluded the seminar by discussing how affordable financial services can bring about economic growth in developing countries like Bangladesh.
“The key prospects for this change include bridging the gender gap in financial inclusion, enhancing children’s welfare, lowering financial risks, increasing savings and generating new business opportunities,” he added.