Kathmandu, March 19, 2015 – At an event organized today at Lazimpat’s Hotel Shanker, Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme called on the Nepal Bankers’ Association for Concept Notes and proposals to design, develop and launch new viable financial products and services together for the rural poor in the country’s mid and far western regions. Present at the event were Mr. Upendra Poudyal, President, Nepal Bankers’ Association (NBA); Mr. Prasanna Bahadur KC, Private Sector Development Advisor, DFID, Mr. Baljit Vohra, Sakchyam Access to Finance Team Leader; Vice President of the NBA Mr. Anil Shah, CEO, Mega Bank Nepal Ltd., CEOs and representatives of various commercial banks, members of the Sakchyam team, and the local press.
In his opening address to the members of the NBA, Sakchyam team and local press, NBA President Mr. Poudyal said, “We appreciate the proactive steps taken by Sakchyam to work together with the NBA. NBA is forming a Working Committee to ensure that work goes ahead full steam for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations to develop financial products and services to benefit the rural communities of Nepal and further the financial inclusion goals of the Government of Nepal.”
Sakchyam’s call for Concept Notes and Proposals from commercial banks is open to all financial and other institutions serving in Sakchyam’s priority districts in Mid- and Far-Western Nepal, such as institutions providing financial services such as commercial banks, insurance companies, and remittance intermediaries; and private institutions, associations, and similar institutions. Sakchyam also encouraged financial institutions to partner with technology platform providers (including MNOs) to propose technology based financial products and services in rural areas to improve access to finance to unlock the economic potential of the region. In the past few weeks, Sakchyam has already signed funding agreements for five Partnerships with a total value of NRs. 550 million.
Talking about the financial products and services that have yet to be commercially introduced in focus areas and are tailored to specific gaps identified, Mr. Vohra said, “Sakchyam is bringing in global experience, technical assistance and risk sharing to usher in innovative mobile and branchless banking solutions, as well as new products and services aimed at expanding the access frontier beyond the physical boundaries of distance. We are excited with the number of new partnerships that are in formation and many more to come after today’s session”.
A follow up discussion was moderated by Mr. Tulasi Uprety, Sakchyam’s Senior Advisor, on the Call for Concept Notes and Proposals and on Sakchyam Challenge Fund, and the way forward with the active participation of CEOs and representatives of various banks. Sakchyam is an access to finance initiative funded by UK aid and implemented for DFID Nepal by Louis Berger in partnership with several local and international institutions.