World Bank grants $ 600 million PH loan

The World Bank (WB) has provided the Philippines with a loan of $ 600 million (approximately 30.20 billion pesos) to support the government’s reform program, which aims to position the country for a competitive and resilient economic recovery.

The World Bank said its board of directors over the weekend approved the Subprogramme 3 Development Policy Loan for Promoting Competitiveness and Improving Resilience to Natural Disasters, which supports government reforms. underway such as changes to the Retail Trade Liberalization Law to encourage private investment, lower the cost of doing business, and expand broadband services to encourage investment in information technology.

World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand Ndiamé Diop said these measures are essential to overcome both immediate and long-term obstacles to growth and pave the way for a recovery. inclusive.

“Reforms that promote competition in broadband and mobile telecommunications will benefit a large part of the underserved populations by increasing coverage and quality of service, increasing their access to markets, as well as to education and services. remote health ”, he underlined.

Internet connection was essential during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the WB, as employed people migrated to home jobs and school-aged children resorted to 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,” said added Diop.

The Philippines lags behind its counterparts in East Asia and the Pacific in terms of foreign direct investment, including in the retail sector. Reforms in the retail sector are expected to encourage investment by leveling the playing field between domestic and foreign players, which will translate into more jobs, wider choices for consumers and an increased influx of news. technologies.

He also said that this new loan is a Development Policy Loan (DPL), which 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.

Supporting increasing the resilience of communities through better digital infrastructure is also part of this new lending program, the World Bank noted.

“The government has 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 WB. . “This should increase access to and improve public services by providing Filipinos with a unique and verifiable digital identity.” Qian said Filipinos can use this basic identifier for key public and private transactions, including opening bank accounts, identifying and verifying welfare recipients, and paying pensions from here. 2022.

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