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Philippines gets share in £19-M UK Prosperity Fund, says DOF

The Philippines will be getting a share in the United Kingdom’s Cross-Government Prosperity Fund, which will be an “invaluable tool” that would help the country post a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, on behalf of the Philippine government, and British Ambassador Daniel Pruce, on behalf of the UK government, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on March 15 for the Philippines’ participation in the UK Cross-Government Prosperity Fund for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Reform Programme and the ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme.

The fund, worth a total of £19 million or approximately P1.3 billion, will be shared among six ASEAN countries, namely the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, “to develop their respective capital markets; encourage improvement in their accounting standards; and expand the use of FinTech or financial technology.”
“Our share from the Prosperity Fund will be an invaluable tool in helping us recover strongly from the pandemic and thrive in the emerging New Economy. Overall, the fund will support the realization of President Duterte’s development goals of inclusive growth and prosperity for the Filipino people,” said Dominguez.
“As the lead agency for the implementation of the MOU covering the Philippines’ initiatives under the Prosperity Fund, the DOF commits to a productive collaboration with its partner-agencies to complete the programs by March 31, 2022,” he added.

The Finance chief assured the British government that the Prosperity Fund will be used with “efficiency, transparency, and prudence.”

For his part, Pruce said, "For myself, for the Embassy, for the British Government, it's an honor to be able to work with our partners here in the Philippines towards sustainable growth and working on a development plan which is helping accelerate key initiatives in the financial sector, which forms such an important role in achieving an inclusive and green economic recovery, especially as we emerge in the coming months from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic." 
The Philippines’ share in British prosperity fund will also assist the country 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, according to the DOF.

“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,” said Dominguez.
“The increased foreign businesses here, in turn, would mean more funds to support higher levels of long-term investments and sustainable quality job creation,” he added.
The British-led 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, the DOF noted.
It added that another project covered by the Fund is the establishment of an industry FinTech “sandbox” or a regulatory environment to encourage Filipino startups to come up with innovative financial products and co-create solutions to society's most pressing issues.

“Doing this would support the government’s goal of creating globally competitive industries and building more technology-empowered and Filipino-made companies,” Dominguez said. 
Meanwhile, under the ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Programme, £15 million or 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. 
As the chairman-designate of the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Dominguez said the Low Carbon Energy Programme is in sync with the Duterte administration's proactive efforts to adopt climate-resilient and adaptation strategies to ensure our country’s sustainable growth over the long term. —KG, GMA News