Financial resilience plan in Asean pushed

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    The Philippines has proposed a six-point plan of action to boost the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) financial resilience amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Finance said in a statement yesterday.

    Carlos Dominguez, finance secretary, has called on the Asean member-states to adopt the action plan geared to strengthen the regional bloc’s financial resilience against future economic shocks and expand growth and employment opportunities in the emerging digital economy.

    This strategy, which calls for a recalibration of Asean’s work plans, will enable the region to be more responsive to the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dominguez said.

    He also called on Asean members to enhance their cooperation on the research and development, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure the accessibility of developing countries to these treatments.

    During the 24th Asean Finance Ministers’ Meeting held last week via teleconference, Dominguez said his proposed six-point plan of action involves mobilizing more support for infrastructure investments in the region, expanding Asean’s capacity for disaster risk financing initiatives, and ensuring open trade within Asean during global emergencies.

    “The free flow of goods within the region requires harmonizing our tariff and customs clearance policies. We also need to further harness technology to expand the access of our enterprises to regional and global supply chains,” Dominguez said.

    He said ensuring quick access to disaster risk financing, on the other hand, will help shield the region from future economic shocks.

    Infrastructure has been proven to have the largest multiplier effect on the economy, which is why the Philippines has made investments in this sector the center of its economic recovery program, Dominguez said.

    He added his proposed plan of action also includes intensifying regional cooperation in preventing tax leakages in cross-border financial transactions, and developing appropriate financial instruments to help member-countries raise funds for health infrastructure and supplement fiscal requirements in times of emergencies.

    Completing this six-point strategy is the need for Asean to step up its information exchange on innovative technologies and expand the digital economy to boost growth and create more employment opportunities. (A. Celis)