MONEY $MART PROGRAM SURPASSES $0.6MILLION MARK

The Fiji Development Bank funded Money $mart program continued its success in 2014 with a staggering $628,398.83 in savings and investments.

In a report from the Ministry of Education, it was revealed that savings and investments from the program increased by 38.6 percent from $453,302.87 in 2013.

“This is an excellent indication of the effectiveness of the Money $mart and Invest $mart programs. We applaud the Ministry of Education for the successful conduct of this program as we continue to work together to improve financial literacy,” FDB chief executive officer Mr. Deve Toganivalu said.

“It is pleasing to note the increase in the number of students who have opened their savings accounts and those who have invested in financial institutions such as FNPF and Unit Trust of Fiji. This demonstrates the changing attitudes of students towards savings and investment.”

Money $mart and Invest $mart programs are complementary financial programs supported by the bank to encourage students in third and fourth form to learn about budgeting, financial planning, saving and the best ways to invest those savings.

The programs were introduced into the school curriculum in 2007 and 2011 respectively. It is geared towards helping students develop the skill of managing personal finance, making informed decisions, keeping relevant records and sustaining good and healthy financial lifestyles at an early stage.

“The bank’s commitment to financial literacy stems from a desire to see our future generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, workers and parents show competence when it comes to managing their personal or business finances. A lack of understanding about money, its value, how to spend it wisely and how it can be acquired is part of what contributes to poverty amongst our people.”

In October 2013, FDB renewed its commitment through a memorandum of understanding with the ministry committing $73,584 to the monitoring and evaluation of the resource materials as well as the students’ savings and investment in addition to financing the ongoing training and up skilling of the teachers who teach Money $mart and Invest $mart.

The MOU assured the bank’s continuous sponsorship of the programs from 2013 until 2015.