To promote responsible digital payments by consumers and acceptance by micro and small merchants, Pascual said they have created the Public-Private Working Group on the Digitizing Merchant Payments Project.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) urged retailers to accelerate the adoption of digital technology in their operations.
“Digitizing merchant payments is of utmost importance” said Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual at the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Q2 2022 General Membership Meeting.
With this, the Trade chief encouraged the PRA to recalibrate and accelerate digital transformation, especially among MSMEs.
To promote responsible digital payments by consumers and acceptance by micro and small merchants, Pascual said that they have created the Public-Private Working Group on the Digitizing Merchant Payments Project, of which the PRA is a member.
“We aim to reconvene the group this year so that we may pilot options for implementing and enhancing digital payments in your supply chains, and scale the digitization of payments at various points across the merchant value chain,” said Pascual.
According to the Trade chief, this effort will be aligned with the objective of increasing the use of digital payments in a responsible manner at both physical and online merchants, particularly by identifying specific adoption and use barriers.
Another objective, Pascual said, is identifying and agreeing on actor-specific actions to drive merchant payment digitization, including time-bound pilots focused on specific segments of merchants.
The trade chief also stressed the goal of engaging national strategies and being part of national advocacy campaigns on digital payments.
Lastly, Pascual highlighted that sharing of experiences and lessons learned, and collaborating on mutual research interests such as merchant segmentation is also among the objectives aligned with the initiative on digitizing merchant payments.
On seeking the cooperation of retailers in the Trade department’s work for consumer protection and empowerment, the DTI will seek to establish more facilities that will protect and empower consumers, Pascual said.
One of DTI’s services for consumers is the E-Presyo, an online price monitoring system, where consumers can check the prevailing prices of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs).
“I believe this is an important initiative, and it will be one that we will complement with other efforts as we carry on with the goal of a safe consumer environment, with quality and safe products, and reasonable prices,” said Pascual on Thursday.
Another plan of DTI to assist retail businesses in the Philippines is to aid the retail industry in maximizing its potential to innovate and put digital transformation at the forefront, especially now that the economy has reopened and PRA expects a rebound for the rest of the year.
“So I encourage you to continue engaging in digital transformation. The government has been working to ease and widen retailers’ adoption of the digital economy. Government efforts on policy are guided by e-commerce as ‘easy commerce’ —safe, reliable,easy, and efficient everywhere,” said Pascual.
The Trade chief also expressed hope that retailers will take advantage of the amendments to Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA) as Pascual said this could improve the country’s attractiveness to investors especially in the retail trade industry.
Pascual highlighted that “we project that five years from its enactment, the amended [Retail Trade Liberalization Act] RTLA will usher in additional foreign investments worth P56 billion. And this will generate over 121,980 jobs.”
RTLA, which simplified the requirements of foreign entry, enables the country to be more competitive, facilitate more foreign equity into the retail trade industry, and generate greater economic and employment benefits.
“The Philippines can now further strengthen its business climate and improve its ranking, too, in the ‘Ease of Doing Business index’,” said Pascual.
The Trade chief also emphasized that for small retailers, there is a threshold for foreign entities’ paid-up capital when they enter the Philippines. “We hope that you will find promise in the amendments as we have. You can be potential suppliers to large companies,” Pascual stressed.
For the country’s well-established retailers, Pascual encouraged them to consider pursuing markets where foreign entities come from since they “are competitive enough to be in a Philippine market with foreign entities.”