E-Peso to accelerate electronic payment rate

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    The six-year P1-billion E-Peso project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is expected to accelerate further electronic payment rate in the Philippines even after it is formally completed this month.

    Through the E-Peso project, USAID contributed to the Philippine government’s achievement of increasing e-payments usage from one percent in 2015 to 11 percent by the end of 2018.

    E-Peso specifically supported the digitization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) systems and helped 11 local government units increase efficiency by opening online and mobile payment platforms for property taxes, building and business permits, and other fees and charges.

    At the project’s closing event last February 16, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said the partnership has resulted in concrete and pioneering projects geared towards promoting financial inclusion and establishing a safe and efficient payments and settlements system in the country.

    BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said with USAID’s technical assistance and collaboration, the agency grew its digital tax collection significantly, with more than 80 percent of revenues consistently delivered via e-payment by taxpayers over the last two years.

    In addition, USAID assisted the Department of Trade and Industry in training women in digital entrepreneurship.

    As a result of this training, 348 women entrepreneurs were able to open online stores, which generated P36 million in revenue during the first six months of operation.

    The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also partnered with USAID and the private sector to develop ReliefAgad, a web-based app used to help distribute relief funds via e-payment to beneficiaries’ e-wallets or bank accounts.