Financial education for Belarusian citizens

National Bank of Belarus presents 2013-2018 state programme to enhance financial understanding of the public
The absence of personal or family budget planning is a burning problem for Belarusian residents. The concept notes: ‘The insufficient financial literacy of the population has revealed itself under today’s global financial and economic crisis conditions, as evinced by a racking debt burden, an absence of savings and an inability to take rational action to protect savings. The topicality of this issue has sharpened and intensified. Most citizens aren’t saving for unforeseen reductions in their level of income despite such situations being possible even during favourable periods of economic development. As a result, a considerable number of citizens can face financial difficulties, even when minor problems occur’.

The draft continues: ‘Every citizen will benefit from financial education. Even children should have an idea about money, laying the foundations of understanding budgets for spending and saving. This could help youngsters cope with financing their education or solving housing problems — through financial planning and the attraction and efficient management of credit resources. Adults need to be able to manage their personal finances: optimising their savings and monitoring spending, while assessing risks and adopting sensible decisions when making investments or using various financial products or planning their pension provision’.

The concept has been developed at the recommendation of the World Bank and is based on experience in Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, the UK, Brazil and Malaysia. An Inter-department Co-ordination Council to Enhance Public Financial Literacy is being headed by the National Bank of Belarus. An Internet portal is also planned to promote financial literacy, acting as the major information source of the state programme.

Steady growth in the following areas will indicatethe success of the programme and thegrowth of financial literacy: volumes of savings, retail banking services and insurance services provided to individuals, as well as investments by individuals on the securities market and the share of non-cash money turnover in the total volume of payments.The programme is available for viewing on the National Bank’s official website.
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