Efficient ICT, transport logistics infrastructure seen to boost digital economy

The Philippines needs to invest more in information communications technology (ICT) and transport logistics infrastructure to support and promote the so-called digital economy amid the pandemic, according to an expert in logistics.

Dr. Enrico Basilio, Chief of Party of University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation, Inc.-Regulatory Support Program for National Development (UPPAF-RESPOND), said more countries are moving towards digital economies where most things are done electronically in response to the
coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“With Covid-19 and with the imposition of social distancing and lockdown measures, digitalization is no longer an option, it has become an imperative. The only option for meetings, for most work arrangements, and for learning. (It) has become very important for doing business –e-commerce,” he said in a webinar.

Basilio said even transactions in the government are being undertaken online, citing as examples registering or renewing registrations for business permits, and payment systems.

He also noted the significant increase in the number of Filipino online shoppers due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, with the rise of e-commerce, Basilio cited various e-commerce models in the country, including business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), consumer-to-business (C2B), and mixed business model of B2C and C2C.

“When you are supplying a business let’s say you’re a raw material producer, you want to do business with other business establishments, so you do a business-to-business,” he said.

Under the C2C model, Basilio said individuals sell products and services to other individuals directly.

Online marketplaces allow customers to trade, buy and sell items, he said, adding that there is concern about product quality and standard.

“Consumers can also participate in these (websites and social media) platforms when they want to actually offer or sell something so it’s not only limited to firms and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) but even consumers have access to this kind of a market model,” Basilio said.

Under a mixed e-commerce business model, on the other hand, online marketplaces allow online retailers and customers to trade, buy and sell items in exchange for a small commission paid to the site.

By 2025, Basilio said the e-commerce size in the country was supposed to reach about 12 billion dollars.

“And what do we need? We need connectivity, we need our gadgets, computers and even tablets and then the development of online platforms, whether website or apps, mobile cellular phones and physical distribution because while we can do online transactions buying and selling of stuff and goods, at the end the day, all these products will have to be physically distributed and still the challenge of unhampered movement of goods become important,” he said.

“These have to be supported by an efficient ICT and transport logistics infrastructure,” he added.

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