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FINANCIAL literacy is gaining prominence worldwide, especially towards forming a more comprehensive financial system, and it is also gaining significance in the international arena, mainly Apec and G-20.

In supporting the importance of financial literacy in the globalisation era, the Asean Financial Literacy Conference (AFLC) was held and inaugurated at Indera Samudra Grand Hall, The Empire Hotel & Country Club, by guest of honour, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman bin Hj Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).




In his opening address, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman emphasised the importance of financial literacy as a matter of utmost necessity in creating the imminence of Asean.

The minister stated that important skills in financial literacy are essential in the context of tackling continual qualms of the global economy. While various endeavours to boost the financial system continue to be shadowed by global financial and monetary policymakers, controllers and investors alike, the minister noted that the source of the financial malaise ought to be tackled.

“The benefits of a financially astute society extend well beyond stronger household finances,” he said. “Furthermore, they can promote a robust financial system and thereby contribute to sustainable economic growth.”

Amongst other things, the minister also shared Brunei’s country-specific initiatives of boosting financial literacy undertaken by His Majesty’s Government and related stakeholders, including continuous outreach programmes by the Ministry of Finance through the financial planning road shows by the Employees Trust Fund (TAP).

To further enhance the effectiveness of these initiatives, other efforts such as TAP’s Mentoring Project are conducted in collaboration with related agencies like the Ministry of Education and financial institutions, said the minister.

Disquiet on obsessive spending habits as well as get-rich quick and fraudulent scams were also cited by Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman, as the issues pose risks even to the most cautious and wisest of people in the society. Thus, the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) has put in place some authoritarian action, such as legislating excess credit limits.

Stephen P Groff, Vice President (Operations 2) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has underlined the crucial aspects of financial literacy to financial stability – both in progressive and emerging economies. ADB is also committed to delivering bounteous support through financial inclusion, literacy and education.

The two-day conference will serve as a dais for participants from government agencies, Asean member countries, international organisations, institutions of higher education and the private sector to share and exchange insights on the topmost practices in promoting financial literacy.

The AFLC’s official opening was attended by deputy ministers at the PMO, as well as high commissioners, ambassadors, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries and senior government officials. The conference was facilitated by invited eminent local and international speakers, including from TAP, the World Bank, ADB, Asean Secretariat, Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, central banks and other financial institutions. The AFLC was endorsed at the 22nd Asean Leaders’ Summit, which was chaired by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in April 2013.

The conference is themed ‘Financial Literacy – Empowering Our People Towards Long-Term Financial Well-Being’, which is in line with Asean’s theme this year – ‘Our People, Our Future Together’.

Awang Hj Nazmi bin Hj Mohammad, Permanent Secretary (Management and International) at the Ministry of Finance, as Co-Chair of the AFLC Steering Committee, also spoke prior to the AFLC’s launch.