BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has challenged financial institutions across the world to design products that will appeal to the millions of the world’s unbanked population to boost liquidity in the banks and safeguard the future of savings account holders.
Obaseki made the call on Monday, in commemoration of the World Savings Day, marked on October 31, every year.
He also assured that the long-term goal of Alaghodaro as envisioned by his administration will address the several challenges of urbanisation in the state’s urban centers.
The governor’s assurance is on the commemoration of the World Cities Day, which is also marked on October 31, each year.
According to the governor, “the complex processes involved in opening savings account, the cold reception given to the fairly literate and non-literate customers, and the lack of adequate incentives for savings culture among other factors discourage many people from taking their money to the bank.”
He stressed that “banking need not be elitist or flamboyant, especially in developing economies and advised bankers to be more creative in reaching out to the unbanked population, most of them in rural and peri-urban areas, and speak to them in languages they understand to win their confidence to save their earnings.”
Obaseki further said that this year’s theme: “Our Future Starts with Savings” is apt and added that “A good saving culture is healthy for financial institutions, the economy as well as the account holders. He explained that people who save money in banks support the growth of the economy and secure their hard earned money from being lost to fire or theft.
“Stories abound of people who have lost their money to thieves, fire incident or flooding because they kept their money under their pillows at home. Money kept at home cannot yield interests and the culture of keeping money at home exposes people to all forms of risk.”
On the World Cities Day, the governor said several programmes had been lined up to transform Benin City and other urban centers in the state to world-class cities.
“The revamped Edo State Traffic Management Agency, Edo City Transport Service, the sanitisation of major bus stops and the city center/ Ring Road, the Clean And Green project, the repositioning of the state Ministry of Physical Planning Urban Development as well as the Edo Development Property Authority (EDPA), are some steps we have taken to address some of the urbanisation challenges we have in the state.”
He maintained that the theme for this year’s World Cities Day celebration, “Innovative Governance, Open Cities” is a call to governments to strengthen institutions that support the growth of cities, namely; world-class superstructure that guarantee the security of life and property, ease of conducting social and commercial activities and happiness amongst others.
The World Savings Day was established on October 31, 1924, during the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks) in Milano, Italy. The Italian Professor Filippo Ravizza declared this day the “International Saving Day” on the last day of the congress. In the resolutions of the Thrift Congress it was decided that ‘World Thrift Day’ should be a day devoted to the promotion of savings all over the World. In their efforts to promote thrift the savings banks also worked with the support of the schools, the clergy, as well as cultural, sports, professional, and women’s associations.
The United Nations General Assembly designated the 31st of October as World Cities Day, by its resolution 68/239. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanisation, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN