The World Bank has approved a new $ 600 million loan that aims to support the Philippines’ economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the Washington-based multilateral institution said it had approved funding for the government’s reform program to position the country for a more competitive and resilient economic recovery. The sub-program’s Development Policy Support Loan supports ongoing government reforms, including amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Law.
The new law aims to promote private investment, reduce the cost of doing business and expand broadband services to promote investment in information and communications technology.
Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines, said these reforms are critical to removing immediate and long-term obstacles to growth, paving the way for an inclusive recovery.
“Reforms that promote competition in broadband and mobile telecommunications will benefit a large portion of underserved populations by increasing coverage and quality of service, increasing their access to markets, as well as education and health services. remote health, ”said Diop.
Access to the internet has been critical during the pandemic as those employed have turned to working from home and school-aged children have relied on distance learning.
Likewise, reforms that lower trade costs and improve the business environment should benefit all businesses, but especially small and medium-sized businesses, which will have access to a larger market for their products and services, ”he said. added Diop.
The Philippines lags behind its counterparts in the East Asia and Pacific region in terms of inflows of foreign direct investment, including in its retail sector.
Reforms in the retail sector should promote investment by leveling the playing field between domestic and foreign operators, thereby creating jobs, expanding consumer choices and increasing the influx of new technologies.
This new loan is a Development Policy Loan (DPL) that provides rapid disbursement assistance to countries undertaking reforms.
DPLs generally support the political and institutional changes necessary to create an enabling environment for sustained and equitable growth, as defined by the borrowing countries’ own development agenda.
Support for increasing the resilience of communities through better digital infrastructure is also part of this new loan program.
“The government introduced the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys as a digital identification platform to foster the digital economy and increase access to public services,” said Rong Qian, Senior Economist at the World Bank .
“This should increase access and improve the delivery of public services by providing Filipinos with a unique and verifiable digital identity,” Qian added.
Filipinos can use this basic identifier for key public and private transactions, including opening bank accounts, identifying and verifying welfare recipients, and paying pensions by 2022, added. Qian.
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