THE PHILIPPINES is looking to secure grants from the United Kingdom’s £34-million (P2.3-billion) cross-government prosperity fund for capital market development programs and green energy initiatives. 

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, III and UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding for the Philippines’ participation in the UK Cross-Government Prosperity Fund for the ASEAN Economic Reform Program and the ASEAN Low Carbon Energy Program.

The fund will also benefit other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The UK government allocated £19-million for the six ASEAN countries to “develop their respective capital markets, encourage improvement in their accounting standards, and expand the use of financial technology.”

Another £15-million is set aside for the ASEAN members’ green finance and energy efficiency projects.

Mr. Dominguez said the prosperity fund is valid until March 31, 2022.

Mr. Dominguez said the government would use the funds to strengthen Philippine capital markets and implement reforms to reduce the cost of doing business.

“This will provide us a solid foundation for international companies to invest and operate in the Philippines. Increased investments would mean more funds to support higher levels of long-term investments and sustainable quality job creation,” he said.

“The fund will help countries adapt quickly to the boom in digital technology through the establishment of an industry fintech sandbox. Filipino startups will be encouraged to come up with innovative financial products and co-create solutions to society’s most pressing issues.”

During the same event, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said technical support from the two programs would help the central bank in developing a green finance and open banking framework.

“The continuous capacity building of our staff and the enhancement of our policies and methodologies in these areas, including capital market and fintech, will support our primary objective of maintaining stable monetary and financial systems,” Mr. Diokno said. — B.M. Laforga