Government accelerates digital finance infrastructure

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is poised to ride the digital wave of the global economy as the government has pledged to build more digital financial infrastructure to ensure broad-based economic growth.

According to the Ministry of Finance, digitalization has paved the way for greater financial inclusion among Filipinos as the pandemic accelerates developments in the digital space.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said building a more robust digital financial infrastructure is essential for large-scale economic growth in the country.

“The Marcos administration is committed to establishing the right policy environment to pursue technological innovations that create new industries, improve public service delivery, and create employment and investment opportunities,” Diokno said.

“Increased participation in the formal financial system is key to deepening our financial and capital markets, increasing consumer confidence and extending products and services to previously underserved markets,” he said.

The CFO said this would be done by building trust in digital finance to promote its widespread adoption and use.

This, as the government aims to digitize half of all retail payments and bring 70% of Filipino adults into the formal financial system by next year.

“A stronger consumer preference for digital payments will help our micro, small and medium enterprises to access new markets, expand their distribution channels and streamline their transaction systems,” Diokno said.

Furthermore, Diokno said the government will continue to invest in digitalization, technological innovation and human capital development to make the country competitive in a rapidly changing and technology-driven global economy.

The World Bank said earlier that adopting digital technologies could bolster the country’s post-pandemic recovery and contribute to its poverty reduction goal.

Diokno also ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to accelerate their respective modernization programs to increase the government’s fiscal effort.

“The government expects to collect more revenue from faster and more widespread economic growth. Effective and efficient tax administration will be essential to fund our socio-economic priorities,” said Diokno.

The finance chief argued that the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Civil Service Act and the Foreign Investment Act “would widen the space for investment and joint venture opportunities for companies using advanced technologies”.

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