2024 WB-IMF Spring Meetings: Fostering collaboration to achieve a sustainable and inclusive Bagong Pilipinas



Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

I was privileged and honored to attend the 2024 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the economic team, led by Finance Secretary Ralph Recto, in Washington, DC, USA from April 17 to 20, where we showcased the priorities, transformational reforms, and policies of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PBBM) to support the country’s socioeconomic growth.

Held annually, the WB-IMF Spring Meetings bring together global leaders, policymakers, economists, as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society organizations, and the academe to discuss global economic and development issues, fostering dialogue and cooperation on poverty reduction, growth, and financial stability.

I firmly believe that our rapidly changing world, marked by challenges including climate change, health crises, and economic instability, underscores the critical need for multilateral cooperation. Thus, the Spring Meetings provided us with a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and forge partnerships that will enable us to tackle the pressing issues of our time.

To start off the meetings, I served as a panelist, along with the rest of the economic team, at the Philippine Dialogue — a private conversation with US-based stakeholders aimed to highlight investment opportunities in the Philippines. We discussed the country’s macroeconomic landscape, regulations, and other reforms to boost business, reaffirming our government’s commitment to faster economic growth and addressing Filipinos’ needs. We proudly shared that the PBBM administration started very strong and emphasized that we are determined to finish even stronger through our comprehensive and strategic roadmap, the Philippine Development Plan. This is complemented by our first-ever Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, greenlighted by the House of Representatives and the Senate. On the part of the Department of Budget and Management, I assured that our budget will continuously respond to the most urgent needs of our countrymen.

At the sidelines of the Spring Meetings, I was inspired to converse with various groups on advocacies close to my heart — digitalization, women’s empowerment, good public financial management (PFM), climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction and management.

In a meeting with WB’s Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Secretariat, we underscored our commitment to bolstering the ongoing development initiatives of the administration through government-led programs and ensuring adequate budget allocation to meet the needs of our people. Further, we outlined our efforts in augmenting the country’s PFM based on the 2016 PEFA Assessment, including developing the Philippine PFM Reforms Roadmap 2024–2028 to harmonize PFM regulations and digitalize procedures across government agencies. I am also delighted to note that the Secretariat fully supports the establishment of a PFM institute to provide national and local budget and procurement practitioners training. The Secretariat further expressed its willingness to assist our government in boosting the country’s existing budget frameworks and policies, especially on gender-responsive budgeting and climate change adaptation. I am confident that a robust PFM will strengthen transparency, accountability, and financial efficiency, and thus fulfill our sustainable development goals, expedite poverty reduction, and enhance the delivery of public services.

Relatedly, we met with the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department to discuss the digitalization of our PFM and its role in enhancing budget preparation, execution, and performance review. I was also pleased to discuss with Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa the ongoing operations of the ADB with our government, as well as future areas of collaboration.

Highlighting the administration’s thrust toward women’s empowerment, I shared during an engagement with the IMF Gender Strategy Team the PBBM administration’s gender mainstreaming initiatives while underscoring that the integration of gender tagging in budget allocation is a fundamental step toward building a more resilient and prosperous Philippines. By ensuring that resources are directed toward programs, activities, and projects that address gender disparities and empower women, I am confident that we can unlock the full potential of our economy and society.

Gender mainstreaming was further discussed, along with climate change adaptation and disaster risk-based budgeting (DRRB), during our meeting with the WBG led by the Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand Ndiamé Diop. They affirmed that budget tagging is crucial to monitor and evaluate progress in these areas. Hence,we need to work on an effective expenditure review. In line with this, the WB is currently providing technical assistance in the development of our DRRB framework aimed at institutionalizing disaster finance. The WBG likewise shared good practices relative to the creation of an Accountant General’s Office and its pivotal role in government accounting, financial reporting, and analysis. Our proposal to establish an Accountant-General’s Department, inspired by Singapore’s successful model, seeks to elevate our PFM systems by providing a framework for enhancing PFM operations, potentially leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness in managing public finances.

Last but not least, I feel privileged to witness the ceremonial signing of the Rapid Response Option Agreement between our country and the WBG. The agreement, the first of its kind, will help us allocate resources more effectively in times of emergency by providing instant access to funds through flexible resource reallocation, enabling our government to provide essential services like food, shelter, and medical attention during crises.

Beyond budget, the 2024 Spring Meetings fostered a shared understanding of collaboration as a key to achieving sustainable and inclusive development. On the part of the PBBM administration, we assure our kababayans that our Bagong Pilipinas will continue to synergize efforts with our international and local partners to catapult the economy to new heights and provide a better quality of life for all. We hope you will join us on this journey.


(Amenah F. Pangandaman is the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.)