The Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) held its 7th meeting on 5 July 2019 at the BSP in Manila. The FISC is an important platform that was established in 2016 through Executive Order No. 208 to provide strategic direction, guidance and oversight in the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) which was launched in 2015. Now with 17 members, the inter-agency body ensures a coordinated approach to financial inclusion by ensuring policy and program cohesion and promotion of multi-sectoral collaboration.
Chaired by Governor Benjamin Diokno, the 7th FISC Meeting covered updates on priority initiatives the member agencies undertook in support of agriculture value chain financing (AVCF) and digital finance – the two focal themes of the NSFI.
The FISC members recognized the need to promote greater collaboration in government and private sector toward developing and financing agriculture value chains. Strengthening agriculture value chains can improve access of smallholder farmers and small agribusinesses to effective farming technologies and to stable, high value market– thereby improving their productivity, competitiveness, and bankability. AVCF can therefore catalyze more meaningful and sustainable participation of the banking industry in agriculture financing, benefitting in particular the smallholders.
The FISC members also expressed their commitment to ensure more Filipinos are able to open and regularly use a transaction account so they can fully participate in the gains of an inclusive digital finance ecosystem. During the meeting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) presented its initiative to facilitate the opening and use of e-money or basic deposit account for the conditional cash transfer program beneficiaries. Other agencies are also exploring opportunities to leverage their policymaking powers to promote use of transaction accounts, particularly by the microentrepreneurs, wage-earners and other vulnerable sectors. Aligned with this thrust, the Department of Finance also reported the ongoing interagency efforts to enable online payment of government fees and taxes which is expected to drive use of transaction accounts and digital payments.
The FISC is scheduled to hold their next meeting in January 2020.