DTI bats for digitalization to attract more investors

TRADE Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual is pushing to further advance digitalization that will aid in attracting more investments for the Philippines, making it easier for investors to transact with the government and establish their businesses locally.

Similarly, the trade chief mentioned in his keynote speech at the Maya Business launch event in Taguig City that the government “will also be able to encourage and support the growth of Philippine companies—particularly those that will compete in the international market.”

With the rebranding of PayMaya Enterprise as “Maya Business” last Friday, Pascual underscored the crucial partnership between the government and the private sector.

He highlighted that, by itself, the government will not be able to achieve its digital-transformation goals. The private sector, for its part, with its “agile mindset and disposition,” has to play a key role—particularly in implementing the digital evolution of enterprises.

Further, the trade secretary said that digital players and stakeholders in the private sector “will set the direction and pace of this change, both independently, and in conjunction with related public programs.”

For instance, he noted that businesses in the digital ecosystem can help industries create more stable and higher-paying jobs; make it easier for investors to set up their businesses; and help the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) widen their market access, as well as boost technologies for enhancing productivity, competitiveness and financing ability.

Pascual highlighted that Maya, formerly known as PayMaya, was a crucial player in the trade department’s transition to e-government, particularly in digitizing business-name registration.

“Your company has been present from the initial meeting to the signing of the quad-partite agreement, then the memorandum of agreement in September 2019 and finally, the integration of Maya with the Business Name Registration System [or BNRS] Next Generation Program,” the trade chief recalled.

Pascual emphasized that business-name registration and renewals have become more efficient, flexible and convenient for entrepreneurs as the services are now being offered by various payment options such as debit or credit cards, Maya e-wallet/Smart Padala, GCash, and LandBank Linkbiz.

According to the trade secretary, the Philippines currently has two official issuances promoting digital transformation, particularly in digital payments: Executive Order 170 s. 2022, or the “Adoption of Digital Payments for Government Disbursements and Collections,” and the Commission on Audit (COA) Circular 2021-014, otherwise known as the “Guidelines on the Use of e-Collection and e-Payment for Government Transactions.”

“EO 170 s. 2022 aims to promote efficient service delivery, speed up transactions, increase revenue, and [most important,] reduce the risk of graft and corruption, ” Pascual noted.

Moreover, the said issuance requires all covered agencies to use secure and efficient digital disbursements as payments for goods and services.

Meanwhile, Pascual added that the COA guidelines aim to provide clear audit policies and guidance on the use of e-collections and e-payments for government transactions, thereby removing “common pitfalls” in implementing e-governance in public service.

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