Digital PERA to stimulate investments, savings

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    Low savings, investments rate. People line up at a branch of Landbank on Commonwealth avenue, Quezon City. The state bank disburses government cash aid under the 4Ps program. (Photo by Manolet Santiago)

    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III expressed confidence the recently launched digital platform for the Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA) will further stimulate the local debt market amid potential increase in investments.

    Dominguez said the unveiling of the PERA digital platform will “convert savings into investable funds that can be tapped by Philippine companies.”

    On Tuesday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue unveiled the PERA platform where investors can browse various PERA products, which will provide Filipinos with easy access to affordable retirement savings options.

    Dominguez said the digital PERA platform will especially benefit overseas Filipino workers who, through the various PERA products made available in the platform, can save a portion of their income until they decide to retire and return home.

    “Initiatives such as the digital PERA is the least this government can do for the heroic Filipinos working overseas and helping support our economy,” said Dominguez in his videotaped message during this platform’s launch.

    “This is a major step towards the broadening of financial inclusion by enabling a convenient, safe, and seamless medium for both investment and retirement savings for the Filipino people,” he added.

    The platform was built by the BSP in partnership with the Trust Officer Association of the Philippines and will be a one-stop shop where investors can open, access and monitor their PERA accounts, and settle transactions via InstaPay or PESONet through online banking.
    Dominguez said digital PERA will enable many Filipinos to get acquainted with financial products and eventually develop financial literacy, while producing a new source of capital to power the nation’s growth.

    “It will help deepen the country’s local debt market, as it would convert savings into investable funds that can be tapped by Philippine companies,” he said.

    Created under Republic Act No. 9505, PERA is a voluntary retirement account that aims to promote capital market development and financial security for Filipinos here and abroad.
    Enacted in 2008, its implementation was delayed because of taxation and regulatory issues.

    Dominguez said with the successful launching of digital PERA, the government should encourage life insurance and pre-need companies to also take on an active role in promoting savings mobilization through PERA.

    “We will certainly need a massive public information campaign about the benefits of building a personal retirement fund – so the Filipino people can take full control of their future through personal financial management,” he said.

    Dominguez said the Department of Finance has been advocating the adoption of new financial technologies to reduce transaction costs and to improve revenue monitoring across the board.

    “Through the current pandemic that we are experiencing, the importance of this transition to digital transactions has been magnified. The digital PERA is a historic step not only into the New Normal, but also into the New Economy,” he added.