• DBM aims for digitized transactions

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    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has joined the global organization Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) to help in its objective of implementing cashless and paperless transactions in government agencies by 2014.

    During the Poverty Summit held recently at the Philippine International Convention Center, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said that the government is pushing for “cashless payments” by next year, which is the reason why the DBM joined the BTCA.

    BTCA is an international organization of governments, financial groups, development communities, and the private sector which aims to shift transactions from cash pay-ments to electronic, by using new technologies.

    Abad said that the DBM com-mits to “financial inclusion through digital innovations” as the government seeks an efficient and transparent payment system, and to generate savings at the same time.

    “Cashless payments . . . allowed us to generate savings. We are now targeting that within next year: That all government transactions will be cashless, checkless and bank-to-bank as a testament to our commitment toward financial inclusion through digital innovations,” Abad said in his speech delivered during the summit.

    “One key innovation which I believe has as much potential to transform lives of the poor as a new vaccine or yielding crop is digital payments. It gives the poor a foothold [to escape poverty]by freeing them from one of their biggest obstacles to financial security: cash,” Bill Gates, founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which co-founded BTCA, said in a BTCA statement.

    Earlier, DBM Undersecretary Richard Bon Moya told The Manila Times that cashless transactions will mainly by supported by the Land Bank of the Philippines, and would enable payments to not go beyond the exact payment to avoid corruption. Cashless pay-ments will also allow records to go directly to the database of the Bureau of Treasury for clearer access and tracing of each transactions made within the government.

    Moya also said that digitizing transactions will save gov-ernment millions of pesos spent for paper cheques.

    Among the BTCA’s members today are Malawi, Afghanistan, Colombia, Kenya and Peru as well as Citi group, Ford Foundation, United States Agency for Inter-national Development, United Nations Capital Development Fund and Visa Inc., among others.

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