#s have it

Published July 23, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Fil C. Sionil

This symbol # is known to netizens as hashtag. It is used on social media websites and applications, particularly Twitter to put emphasis on certain issue and/or to make netizens aware of what’s happening in the environs such #attrafficdito to advise followers to take another route.

Back in the olden days, though, it was used alternately as a pound sign or it  stood for number.   

 “Yes, the numbers have it!”  said a source walking along the business lane as he watched a crane moved at the towering building under construction. Although, we are still under GCQ, I do agree in his observation that the numbers are creeping up slowly.

Another indicator is my friendly neighborhood laundromat, which was closed about two weeks ago but is finally back in business.     

The economic managers are also being watchful. I heard from them that the technical working group (TWG) of the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has to wait for the second quarter numbers, specifically the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to come in before any changes in the government’s macroeconomic targets for this year will be effected.

Everyone acknowledged that Q2 is a foregone conclusion since there was  practically no business activity due to the lockdown. No matter. The exact number will dictate the course of action the economic managers will take to prime up the economy and put it back on track to recovery.

Largely due to the huge budgetary assistance the government is coughing out because of the pandemic, there’s this possibility the budget deficit this year may balloon to a hefty range between 8.1 percent and 8.4 percent of GDP from a mere 3 percent original assumption. Two weeks to go before Q2 numbers start coming in. Let’s watch how this will unravel.

Again, yes, the numbers have it! This is a follow-up on my previous piece about digital payments. Prior to COVID-19, an increase in the numbers of online payment had been observed but the recent public health menace and resulting physical distancing and safety measures have hastened the adoption of digital payments in the country.

We are now shifting to e-wallet,  because it is the fastest way to conduct essential transactions such as sending money, buying load, online purchases. 

PayMaya, one of the modes of online payments I use to settle my digital purchases, affirmed the rise in the adoption of digital payments.  Its total combined volume has grown more than 2.5 times  year-on-year in June. This is across all business platforms PayMaya offers from consumer wallet, to enterprise acquiring, to Smart Padala domestic remittance. 

Aside from sending money, there has been a huge rise in the use of PayMaya wallet for airtime load, bills payment, online purchases, and paying with just their mobile number online via Pay with PayMaya.

With consumers now turning to cashless and contactless payments for transactions, businesses who are able to offer digital payment options will have an advantage.

This is the new normal. Just goes to show that in times of adversity, an opportunity blossomed.

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