BSP’s financial inclusion thrust gets 20 gov’t agencies’ backing

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Twenty key government agencies led by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) have agreed to push for greater financial inclusion among Filipinos by promoting digital payments among consumers as well as in their transactions with stakeholders.

In a statement, the central bank said the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) chaired by BSP Gov. Benjamin Diokno convened recently and agreed to use financial technology as an imperative for financial inclusion in the new economy, and to collectively shepherd statutory issuances that can liberalize the use of satellites and services to address the challenges in internet connectivity.

To further catalyze broader adoption of digital payments among consumers and businesses, the central bank provided an overview of the country’s digital payments landscape and presented the BSP Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.

This outlines the BSP’s three-year priority policy initiatives, including open banking, which aims to shift at least 50 percent of retail payment transactions to digital, and to have at least 70 percent of adult Filipinos owning and using a bank account or e-wallet by 2023.

Members of this steering committee include heads of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Cooperative Development Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Education, Department of Finance, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Transportation, the Insurance Commission, National Economic Development Authority, Philippine Commission on Women, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., Philippine Statistics Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The steering committee discussed other initiatives such as harmonization of government efforts to digitize collections and disbursements, payment of private sector wages through transaction accounts, and digitization of the distribution of benefits under the Social Amelioration Program.

The group also welcomed its newest member, the Philippine Commission on Women, the primary policy and coordinating body on gender equality. In the statement, the steering committee said that it had seen gender as an important dimension of financial inclusion particularly in promoting access and usage of digital financial services for various population segments.

“The FISC is committed to enable the delivery of welfare-enhancing and digitally-accessible financial services to all Filipinos,” the group said, at the conclusion of its recent meeting held via video conferencing.

The push for greater financial inclusion through the use of technology received fresh impetus at the start of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the increased use of electronic payments. At the same time, however, BSP’s Diokno said the public must first be made more aware about the risks and rewards of using digital financial services.


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