By Ezra Ukanwa, ABUJA
AS part of its role to reduce the rate of financial hardship and contribute to the growth of the economy in general, the Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shansuna Ahmed, on Tuesday, said that it would train 12,000 federal government employees on financial literacy.
This is even as she noted that the move for financial education among public staff by implication would sustain inclusive economic growth.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Finance Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Aliyu Ahmed, said this during the official Flag-off Ceremony of the Service Wide Financial Literacy in the Workplace Programme on Financial Inclusion, in Abuja.
According to her, once this initiative is rolled out, the pilot stage is expected to reach a total number of 12,000 government employees by December, 2022. It is also important to note that the Ministry intends to extend the programme to other MDAS by January, 2023 Therefore.
“I expect to receive at the end of each month a coordinated approach and plan on monitoring and evaluation of the programme by the responsible Department.
“There is a great concern on how government employees manage their finances. These days.. public employees face serious financial challenges as a result of a dwindling economy.
“Studies have shown that lack of primary skills on how to manage, save, and invest money is one of the reasons why public employees experience financial troubles.
“Moreover, another study discovered that most public servants do not cultivate effective saving habits, rather they are likely to spend more than what they earn. Financial education, though not being a solution, can lessen the magnitude of future crises by enabling public employees to effectively use financial products and services to develop their skills and the confidence to become more aware of financial risks and opportunities to make informed choices.
“These kinds of measures can also help in promoting economic recovery and growth, as well as decrease poverty”, she added.
The Minister further explained that those involved in the training include; GIZ, Central Bank and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
She noted that the programme will run for as long as the government is able to capture the bulk of the lower cadre civil servants.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Finance, Special Duties in the Ministry, Shehu Aliyu Shinkafi, reaffirmed support in achieving the 95% Financial Inclusion target by 2024.
He averred that public employees are bedeviled with a myriad of challenges in making informed financial decisions following the inconsistency of the financial markets.
He said: “Public employees today are facing challenges in financial decision making that seems to emanate from the changes in financial markets as a result of a dwindling economy.
“Economies of most countries including Nigeria were negatively impacted as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic which has been a source of concern to government and policy makers on how to cushion the effect of the economic shock caused by the pandemic.