• DBM joins with international org in digitizing govt transactions

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    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) joined the membership for global organization Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) in their aim for all government agencies and officials to implement cashless transactions and payments by 2014.

    In the Poverty Summit held 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 they joined the international BTCA.

    BTCA is an organization comprised of governments, financial groups, development communities and the private sector all over the world, which aims to shift transactions from cash payments to electronic through new technologies emerging as of today.

    Abad said that the DBM commits to “financial inclusion through digital innovations” as the government seek 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 towards financial inclusion through digital innovations,” Abad said during his speech on 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 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which co-founded BTCA, said in a BTCA statement.

    The BTCA serves as a leader organization in transitioning physical cash with electronic payments in governments, groups, associations across the globe. They also urged governments to transfer all transaction through banks and electronic means, provides policy and financial assistance on how to approach local market conditions of different countries to maximize benefits, and develops research and case studies on the shift of payments and transactions to electronic.

    Earlier, Undersecretary Richard Bon Moya told The Manila Times that cashless transactions would mainly by supported by the Land Bank of the Philippines as the system would also enable payments to not go beyond the exact payment to avoid corruption and records would 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 government millions of pesos which was only spent for paper checks needed in offices and agencies.

    Aside from the Philippines, the BTCA also have financial institutions and governments as members at present like the Government of Malawi, Afghanistan, Colombia, Kenya and Peru as well as Citi group, Ford Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Capital Development Fund, and Visa Inc. among others.

    Kristyn Nika M. Lazo

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