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2 months ago | Nation | 0 comments

By Xai Reyes

According to the 2020 Global Microscope on Financial Inclusion of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research arm of The Economist Group said the Philippines remains among the top leaders in financial inclusion.

The country ranks second in Asia, next to India; and eight worldwide, tied with Brazil, in the EIU study, which assessed the financial inclusion environment in 55 countries.

The EIU study rated countries across five dimensions, namely Government and Policy; Stability and Integrity; Products and Outlets; Consumer Protection; and Infrastructure.

The study said together with Thailand and Russia, the Philippines posted the highest improvement in Asia and Eastern Europe, in view of the government’s push to promote digital channels as part of its responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippines got a perfect score of 100 points in Products and Outlets dimension, which covers Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) regulations on e-money, simplified accounts like the Basic Deposit Account (BDA), and financial outlets such as cash agents.

Focusing on the role of financial inclusion in the COVID-19 response, the EIU study recognized the initiatives of the Philippines to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the pandemic.

The report cited the regulatory relief measures of the BSP to ease liquidity constraints in the financial system, restore business confidence, and sustain the flow of credit amid the unprecedented health crisis.

These include the temporary relaxation of compliance to reporting requirements, easier access to rediscounting facility, and waiver of licensing fees and charges for financial institutions setting up their electronic payment and financial services.

It also cited the initiative of financial service providers to suspend fees for electronic fund transfer during the community quarantine period.

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