Sunday, July 12, 2020

Diokno Reforms In ICT Infra To Help Post-Covid Programs

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Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno highlighted the need for reforms in the country’s information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure to help in the government’s post-Covid-19 programs.

In a speech during the Manila Times online forum Monday, Diokno said improving the country’s ICT infrastructure system and processes “will play a pivotal role in reshaping the means of production and the delivery of goods and services in the post-Covid world.”

He said digital technology “will also be critical in enabling simpler and more efficient transactions with government agencies” and other processes like online retail, online banking, online medical consultations, and digital payments.

“All these need to be supported by a safe and reliable digital infrastructure system with robust and dependable cybersecurity protection,” he said.

Diokno said reform in the country’s ICT infrastructure sector is just one of many structural reforms that need greater attention.

The others include the modernization of the health system to ensure efficient public health infrastructure and resilient crisis preparedness program, the modernization of the agriculture and government’s supply chain management system, and the development of a highly-skilled and resilient workforce.

Diokno said these reforms are outside the responsibilities of the central bank “yet they have a profound impact on the realization of the BSP’s policy thrusts.”

He reiterated that the central bank continues to enjoy sufficient policy space and can still implement measures on top of the ones it has introduced so far.

These measures include the total of 175 basis points reduction in the BSP’s key policy rates, the 200 basis points cut on big banks’ reserve requirement ratio, relaxation on rules such as on single borrower’s limit (SBL), maximum penalty on reserve deficiencies, and the submission of reports and documents.

Diokno said lawmakers can also help in the bid to ensure domestic growth post-pandemic by providing additional policies to reduce the cost of business and streamlining the investment process, among others.

He said that while the current global health crisis has resulted in economic difficulties there are also opportunities, pointing out that “this once-in-a-lifetime health crisis emphasizes the importance of building sufficient buffers during good times.”

He noted that there are still a lot of reform possibilities to take note of as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.

“There are deep learnings that we should collectively heed if we are to rise above the crisis and forge ahead towards the goal of a stronger, fairer, and more inclusive society,” he added. (PNA)

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