The Office of the President issued Executive Order (EO) No. 208 on 02 June 2016 to institutionalize the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC), the governing body that provides strategic direction, guidance and oversight in the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI). The NSFI, developed through a consultative process, serves as guidepost for public and private sector stakeholders to systematically accelerate financial inclusion in the Philippines. The issuance of the EO represents another milestone in the country’s efforts to establish a financial system that benefits all Filipinos, regardless of socio-economic status, and thereby contribute to inclusive growth and development.
The FISC consists of government agencies that were instrumental in crafting the NSFI. It is chaired by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. Members include the heads of the Department of Finance, Department of Education, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Budget and Management, National Economic and Development Authority, Insurance Commission, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Cooperative Development Authority. Heads of other agencies may be invited as FISC members as necessary.
The FISC is tasked to align various financial inclusion related policies and programs; ensure effective monitoring of the progress of these initiatives; and collaborate with public and private sector stakeholders on various agenda that fall under the NSFI areas of policy and regulation, financial education, consumer protection, data and measurement, and financial inclusion advocacy. In this work, the FISC is supported by inter-agency technical working groups and a technical secretariat from the BSP.
The FISC spearheaded the establishment of the NSFI to fulfill a key reform agenda under the Philippine Development Plan. The NSFI was launched in July 2015 in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance and Development. The NSFI defines the national vision for financial inclusion and provides a platform for public and private sector coordination to ensure synergy of efforts to achieve shared objectives.
Financial inclusion is important for the Philippines. The country is currently enjoying sustained and high economic growth but access to financial services remains a challenge. About 68% of adults who save (43.2% of adult population) keep their savings at home; 72% of those who borrow (47.1% of adult population) do so from informal sources1; and only 30.5% of our SMES have bank loans or formal lines of credit2. Around 12% of the 1,634 municipalities spread over the Philippine archipelago still have no access to a bank or other types of financial service providers3. Of the 2.5 billion retail payment transactions processed in the country per month, only 1% is thru digital means4. With the effective implementation of the NSFI thru the oversight of the FISC, it is hoped that more people will benefit from having access to financial services and contribute to broad-based growth.
1 BSP National Baseline Survey on Financial Inclusion 2015
2 World Bank Enterprise Survey 2009
3 BSP Report on the State of Financial Inclusion in the Philippines 2014
4 Better than Cash Alliance Country Diagnostic (Philippines) 2015
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