As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 12th edition of Global Money Week, JOSEPH INOKOTONG writes that financial literacy holds the key to creating wealth, improving income and enhancing the living conditions of people.

GLOBAL Money Week (GMW) promotes efforts aimed at improving the financial literacy of young people. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to ensure that all children and young people have access to high-quality financial education.

The target is to ensure that they learn about money matters and can take smart financial decisions that can improve their future financial resilience and financial well-being. Throughout 11 editions, starting in 2012, the campaign has reached over 60 million children and young people in 176 countries worldwide.

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This year’s GMW2024 has the theme, “Protect your money, secure your future”. It focuses on safe money management and highlights the importance of adopting a responsible and informed approach to personal finances, by being aware of potential risks in the financial sector and protecting one’s hard-earned money.

Such risks may include financial scams and frauds, such as phishing, money laundering and online shopping scams, and risks related to data privacy, such as identity theft. Young people are especially likely to fall victim to financial frauds and scams, due to their limited financial literacy and experience.

It is a global event, and this year’s GMW2024 Global launch took place in a hybrid format on 18 March 2024 at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris. It was organised in conjunction with the OECD/FinCoNet International Seminar “Tackling Financial Scams and Frauds”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was not left out in the celebrations. In his opening remarks, Mr. Philip Ikeazor Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability at the school mentoring programme in commemoration of the 2024 Global Money Week reiterated that every year in March, the world celebrates the event.

He pointed out that it was an event aimed at raising awareness amongst children and youths to enable them to learn how to make sound financial decisions, become financially resilient, and consequently, enhance their future financial wellbeing.

Again, Mr. Ikeazor reminded the students that “From its commencement in 2012, the GMW has attracted participation from 176 countries and 63 organisations across the globe, with Nigeria being a part of this global movement since 2013.”

To commemorate this year’s GMW, CBN lined up many exciting activities and programmes, whilst at the same time creating the desired awareness amongst participants. School mentoring is one such programmes lined up to celebrate the 2024 edition in Nigeria.

The theme for this year’s edition is “Protect your money, Secure your future”, captures the importance of learning, from an early age, and to always think about the future when making financial decisions and plan accordingly.

It emphasizes the importance of not only making money, but understanding frauds and scams, saving, and investing for your future. Equipped with such skills at a young age, the CBN said will enable the students to achieve financial independence and a financially secure future.

The apex bank cautioned that having an income and making a substantial amount of money does not guarantee financial security. What is important, it highlighted is the ability to develop and hone skills and attitudes to manage the financial resources to have a secure future.

In addition to this, it noted that it is vital to know the types of frauds and scams, how to respond to scammers, and various ways to protect one’s money online and offline. This also implies knowing how to report to a bank in the event of an encounter with scammers or fraudsters. In essence, the financial decisions one makes today and the education acquired have a huge impact on one’s future.

“Therefore, when you learn these skills at a young age and with consistent practice, you will have a brighter future. So, be smart about your money while you are still young; save, budget and become educated.

“I encourage you to look at the theme carefully. Decide to begin to build the future that you desire from now. I will leave you with a proverb that says, “the art is not in making money, but in keeping it”, the CBN Deputy Governor Financial Systems Stability stated.

About 50 students each, drawn from five schools from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja participated in the commemoration of the 12th edition of the Global Money Week.

To underscore the overriding essence of the GMW2024, the CBN seized the moment to take a financial literacy campaign to schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Speaking at the Government Secondary School (GSS) Gwagwa, Abuja, OthnielNuhu, the CBN Acting Director of Consumer Protection Department explained the essence of the awareness campaign was necessary to instill in the students the right attitude towards money, including earning, saving, and investing early.

Nuhu told the students: “We at CBN are interested in educating you about money even though we know that you are not working yet, because we want to catch you young. What we are doing here has to do with financial literacy. It is different from the education you are getting here because you can be a professor and not know how to manage your money. We want to inculcate in you the culture of saving. You can save from the gifts and allowances you receive from your parents and other relatives. We want you to begin to learn the culture of saving for the future. Your parents can open bank accounts on your behalf until you turn 18 years so that by the time you become adults and start working, you will have mastered the art of saving.”

The Principal of GSS Gwagwa, Mr. Abdullahi Musa Zakari, could not hide his appreciation of the CBN’s contributions to financial literacy in the country he specifically applauded the CBN for choosing the school to conduct its awareness campaign. He advised the students to treat the instruction given to them seriously and make the most of the financial literacy programme.

“I believe we must count ourselves lucky for being selected among so many schools in Abuja to hold this awareness campaign. The CBN has come here to educate you on financial literacy that will help you later in life. I hope you will give rapt attention so that you can fully derive the benefit in it. I want you to take this training seriously because everything is centered around you,” Zakari said.

Indeed, financial literacy holds the key to creating wealth, improving income and enhancing living conditions of Nigerians.

GbadamosiLanre, the Head of Consumer Education and Evaluation Division in the Consumer Protection Department of the CBN, had expressed concern about the poor level of financial literacy in the nation, which he said only increased from 13 percent to roughly 33 percent over time. He attributed the low rate of financial literacy to inadequate awareness, poor income rates among Nigerians, and escalating poverty levels in the country.

He, however, noted that the CBN was creating a monitoring and evaluation framework for financial literacy to offer an impartial evaluation of the apex bank’s financial literacy efforts.

The financial exclusion rate in Nigeria has witnessed a remarkable reduction as many people are now captured in the inclusion bracket. It is obvious that one cannot divorce financial literacy, consumer protection from financial inclusion as they are all interwoven.

Nigeria has been able to achieve 74 percent financial inclusion rate as at December 2023, from 68 percent recorded in 2020. For Nigerians to have financial well-being, financial literacy is one of the core factors to make it, beyond income levels for people to improve their standards of living.

The 12th edition of GMW2024 tends to be special due to the inclusion of safety nets for savings, how children can cultivate the habit of savings and protection of that savings, as well as teachers and those intermediaries who are involved in the teaching methodology of the school curriculum.

One of the initiatives taken by the CBN to make things better is to get financial literacy topics, skills and knowledge embedded in the national school curriculum. The apex bank said it is at the drafting stage, but hopes that by October, the final copy of the National Financial Literacy Curriculum will be included in the school curriculum for the next session.

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