Lack of primary skills on how to manage, save and invest money was one of the reasons why public employees experience financial troubles, as most public servants do not cultivate an effective saving habit, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed has said.
The minister, who stated this at the flag-off ceremony of service-wide financial literacy in the workplace programme on Financial Inclusion in Abuja, observed that public servants spend more than what they earn.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Aliyu Ahmed, the Minister emphasised that the programme is aimed to sensitise and educate government employees on financial literacy for inclusion in the workplace as it has continued to gain attention globally because of the important role it plays in economic development and poverty alleviation initiatives.
She declared that as a way of lending collaborative support to this initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the ministry signed a tripartite agreement in 2014 with the Melinda Gate Foundation to implement digital financial inclusion projects in Nigeria with the target of driving the achievement of 80 per cent financial inclusion target by the year 2020.
She stated that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy was developed and launched in 2012 and revised in 2019 as part of a commitment to further enhance the level of financial inclusion in Nigeria, and by implication, sustain inclusive economic growth.
She stressed that the programme would be extended to other MDAs, in January 2023 when the pilot target would be expected to reach a total number of 12,000 government employees by December 2022.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Shehu Aliyu Shinkafi noted that most employees in the public sector simply earn to consume, which was largely due to a lack of financial literacy.
He added: “This practice shows a lack of understanding on how money works, is earned, managed, invested and plans for the future.”
He stated that the programme was designed to educate and sensitise officers in MDAs on financial literacy for inclusion as part of measures to ensure the objective of the programme was achieved in line with the year 2023 financial inclusion target.
In furtherance of this, the Ministry had set out a series of activities ranging from the flag-off ceremony to a five-day training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on financial literacy for 25 officers from the implementing Department by the CBN and German Development Cooperation – GIZ as well as monitoring of MDAs performance.