PH signs MOU on UK’s prosperity fund

Published March 16, 2021, 1:39 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Philippines’ participation in the United Kingdom’s Cross-Government Prosperity Fund signed. (From left) Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, British Ambassador Daniel Pruce, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Emilio Aquino, and Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa. The BSP, SEC and the Insurance Commission (IC) are co-lead agencies of the Department of Finance (DOF) in the implementation of the work packages under the MOU. 

The Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Manila’s participation in the Cross-Government Prosperity Fund that aims to support the country’s inclusive and sustainable growth.

On Monday, March 15, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and British Ambassador Daniel Pruce signed the MOU on UK Cross-Government Prosperity Fund for the ASEAN Economic Reform Programme and the ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme. 

Following the signing, Dominguez thanked the government and people of the UK for their continuing support to the Philippines at this crucial time, which is made especially meaningful as the two countries mark their 75 years of bilateral relations this year.

“Overall, the fund will support the realization of President Duterte’s development goals of inclusive growth and prosperity for the Filipino people,” Dominguez said during the event held via Zoom. 

“We assure the people and the Government of the United Kingdom, represented here today by Ambassador Daniel Pruce, that the Prosperity Fund will be used with efficiency, transparency, and prudence,” he added. 

The Philippines’s share in the Fund will help develop the country’s capital markets, expand the use of financial technology (Fintech), and promote the use of global accounting standards, the finance chief said.

This fund will also assist the Philippines in implementing programs that aim to increase the country’s energy efficiency and the adoption of low carbon energy through the use of green finance. 

Under the Fund, a total of £19 million (approximately P1.3 billion), will be shared among six ASEAN countries to develop their respective capital markets; encourage improvement in their accounting standards; and expand the use of FinTech or financial technology. 

The six ASEAN nations are Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dominguez said these initiatives under the ASEAN Economic Reform Programme will help improve the Philippines’ business environment to aid it in returning to the path of inclusive and sustainable growth.

He said strengthening the domestic capital markets will not only help reduce the cost of doing business and broaden financial inclusion among Filipinos, but will also provide the Philippines a solid foundation for international companies to invest and operate in the Philippines. 

The increased foreign businesses here, in turn, would mean more funds to support higher levels of long-term investments and sustainable quality job creation, Dominguez said. 

The Fund will also assist the Philippines’ financial institutions in adhering to international accounting standards, which will strengthen the transparency, accountability, and efficiency of its financial sector.

Another project covered by the Fund is the establishment of an industry FinTech sandbox to encourage Filipino startups to come up with innovative financial products and co-create solutions to society’s most pressing issues, Dominguez said. 

“Doing this would support the government’s goal of creating globally competitive industries and building more technology-empowered and Filipino-made companies,” he said. 

Meanwhile, under the ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme, £15 million (about P1 billion), will be shared among the Philippines and the five other ASEAN country-recipients for projects that will help support inclusive growth and poverty reduction through green finance and energy efficiency projects.