World Bank approves $600 million funding for Philippine reforms By Reuters

World Bank approves $600 million funding for Philippine reforms
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo

MANILA (Reuters) – The World Bank has approved a $600 million loan for a Philippine reform programme to position the Southeast Asian country for a competitive and resilient economic recovery, the bank said on Saturday.

The quick-disbursing loan backs measures to free up retail services and promote private investment, cut the cost of doing business, and expand broadband services to boost investments in information and communications technology, the lender added.

Such reforms are crucial to level immediate and long-term barriers to growth, said Ndiamé Diop, the bank’s country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

“Reforms that promote competition in broadband and mobile telecommunications will benefit a large portion of underserved populations by increasing coverage and quality of service, increasing their access to markets, as well as access to remote education and health services,” Diop said in a statement.

Reforms that lower trade costs and improve the business environment will benefit all firms but especially small and medium enterprises, by opening the way to a larger market, Diop added.

The Philippines lags peers in east Asia and the Pacific in direct foreign investment into areas such as retail, the bank said, adding that reforms to the sector could draw investment by levelling the playing field for domestic and foreign operators.

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