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ADB, World Bank support PH digital transformation

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The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed to supporting the Philippines’ digital transformation and infrastructure development, according to the Department of Finance.

Finance Secretary Ralph Recto said he secured commitment from ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa to support key priority development programs for the Philippines, focusing on boosting digitalization, improving human capital and infrastructure and enhancing disaster preparedness.

Asakawa said the key strategic priorities would be reflected and aligned in its upcoming Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Philippines.

Recto said priority areas also encapsulate the development priorities of the Marcos administration.

Recto expressed enthusiasm in continuing closer cooperation with the ADB team as the CPS is being finalized.

He also sought more support from the ADB for the government’s digitalization program to improve tax collection efficiency, especially now that a fourth of Filipino consumers have moved to e-commerce.

Recto said a slow adaptation to digitalization amid the rising e-commerce would result in an immense potential revenue leakage.

Data showed that as of Dec. 31, 2023, the ADB is the Philippines’ second-largest ODA partner with a total ODA commitment of $11.40 billion.

Meanwhile, World Bank Group (WBG) President Ajay Banga also expressed willingness to assist the Philippines in its digitalization initiatives to boost revenue generation, underscoring its importance in fixing leakages.

Banga underscored during the high-level meeting on April 17, 2024 in Washington D.C. the need to build a solid digital infrastructure in the long term, which involves creating a digital identity, a real-time payment structure and a reliable document storage system for the government to get citizens on board and enhance the efficiency of public services.

Banga proposed to form a dedicated World Bank team to work with the government in planning and prioritizing digitalization strategies focusing on increasing revenues and long-term benefits.


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