WB approves $600m loan to boost Philippines’ digital transformation

MANILA-The World Bank said on Saturday that it has approved 600 million U.S. dollars in financing for the Philippines to support reforms aimed at increasing digitalization.
The Philippines’ First Digital Transformation Development Policy Loan aims to promote the digital transformation of government and digital infrastructure policies, expand financial inclusion through digital finance, and stimulate the growth of digital services.
“It will help the government digitize government operations and service delivery, foster competition in the digital infrastructure markets, and encourage the adoption of digital payments and financial services,” the bank said.
It will also facilitate reforms to promote e-commerce, enhance competition and value-added activities in digital services markets, and strengthen skills development in the industry, the bank noted. “Greater adoption of digital technology can improve the efficiency and transparency of government services, empowering individuals who were previously far away from decision-making centers,” said Ndiame Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
The bank said widespread adoption of digital payments in the Philippines is essential for developing a digital economy, benefiting millions of citizens and small businesses.
“Digitalization can also drive productivity growth by reducing operating costs for firms and enhancing their resilience and preparedness for future crises,” Diop said. Currently, cash is the dominant form of payment for the country’s over-the-counter purchases in grocery stores, government service payments, and government fees and penalties.
“Transitioning to a cashless economy would provide various benefits, especially during climate-related and natural disasters, enabling the government and the private sector to respond swiftly and efficiently,” said Smita Kuriakose, lead economist in the World Bank’s finance, competitiveness, and innovation global practice.

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