Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has said that Jamaicans need to be more knowledgeable about financial matters, including how their personal financial choices affect the economic wellbeing of the country.
“Financial literacy education is important to both the financial security of individuals and by extension our nation,” Mr. Shaw stated.
He was speaking at the launch of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre’s (CARTAC) financial education programme and literacy website yesterday (Jan. 22) at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
According to the Finance Minister, three to four decades ago, it was sufficient to be knowledgeable on how to maintain a savings or chequing account however, nowadays, persons must be able to understand and differentiate among the wide variety of financial instruments and services available, and the range of institutions and providers of financial products.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (left), has a light moment with Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Brian Wynter. They were at the launch of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre’s (CARTAC) financial public education programme and financial literacy website yesterday (Jan. 22) at the Jamaica Conference Centre downtown Kingston.
In commending CARTAC on launching the website, he expressed the hope that people will use it to gain basic information on the economy and how to better manage their money, make wise decisions and start building wealth.
Programme Director for CARTAC, Mrs. Therese Turner-Jones, informed that the website, which was 18 months in the making, will provide persons across the region with information to help them take control of their financial wellbeing.
“To do so, the public needs to understand the fundamentals of budgeting, banking, saving, and investment. Research indicates that even in societies with high levels of education, there is considerable lack of understanding or grasp of basic finance. Budgeting, credit, investments, mortgage financing and interest rates are among the topics covered in financial education,” she stated.
She explained that the website draws on the collective wisdom of programmes and other websites dedicated to increasing financial literacy and also regional experience, including existing programmes in Trinidad and Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean.
She said that it offers a special Caribbean flair, which should keep the viewing fresh, exciting and educational, and appeal to the younger population “as we hope to influence their financial knowledge at an early stage”.
According to Mrs. Turner-Jones, the hope is that educating the public, will lead to better financial conditions and control at the national level.
“National economic progress is inextricably linked with individual successes. As average citizens improve their savings and investments, eventually, less consumption can free up resources for productive investments,” she pointed out.
For more information on the financial education programme persons can visit CARTAC’s website at www.financialliteracycaribbean.com.