Malacañang institutes gov't support for nat'l financial inclusion strategy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippine, June 24) — The Palace has required the entire government to support the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2022-2028 which bats for effective access to financial products and services to all, especially the vulnerable sectors.

“As a shared blueprint that aspires to achieve financial inclusion towards broad-based financial resilience, the adoption and implementation of the National Strategy for Inclusion demands cooperation and support from the whole-of-government,” read Memorandum Circular 97, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 23.

Financial inclusion, as defined by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, happens when everyone has effective access to a wide range of financial services. Effective access means financial products and services aren’t only available but also appropriately designed, of good quality, and responsive to varied needs of individuals and businesses.

MC 97 requires all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities - like state universities and colleges (SUCs), government owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs), and foreign-based government agencies - to support the NSFI’s implementation.

This entails incorporating relevant priority initiatives under the NSFI in their work programs, policies, and budgets; participating in working groups created by the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) and other NSFI initiatives when requested; and providing relevant data upon request for monitoring the NSFI’s implementation.

The FISC is an inter-agency committee chaired by the BSP. Its members are representatives from the Department of Finance, Department of Education, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Development of Budget and Management.

Also part of it are the National Economic and Development Authority, Insurance Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., and Cooperative Development Authority.

The issuance also directs regional development councils (RDCs) and equivalent bodies to include among their agenda matters on financial inclusion.

RDCs, along with their local counterparts, are highly encouraged to reflect financial inclusion objectives, priorities, and targets in their plans and programs.

Local governments are also asked to promote financial inclusion within their jurisdictions, according to the memorandum circular.

The FISC, meanwhile, must coordinate and provide technical assistance to RDCs and LGUs in incorporating NSFI objectives, priorities, and targets in their plans and programs, read the issuance.

“The FISC shall also conduct information, education and communication activities toward building public understanding on the NSFI,” the circular stated.

Funds necessary to implement MC 97 will be charged against agency appropriations with respect to their NSFI-related programs, projects, and activities subject to the usual accounting and auditing requirements, rules and regulations, it also said.