Investment in Converge IPO, telco infra projects to spur economic rebound

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PSE bell, Photo collage by THEPHILBIZNEWS

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

As the demand for connectivity and efficiency of internet connection, the government welcomes competition in telecommunication in order to address the growing need.

With the quarantine in place, protocols, travel restrictions, and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has totally posited a change in how the Filipinos live and stay connected as home learning and work from home is now the “new normal” and empirical. 

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Monday the planned telecommunications infrastructure expansion of fiber internet provider Converge ICT Solutions following its stock market debut will significantly contribute to the country’s strong economic bounce-back from the pandemic and quickened transition to the digital-based New Economy.

Dominguez said Converge’s initial public offering (IPO) and listing this week is a “strong vote of confidence in the economy’s capacity to bounce back strongly after the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I encourage Converge to use the proceeds of this public offering to continue investing in network improvements to serve more Filipinos nationwide,” said Dominguez during this morning’s IPO listing of the company at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

“We will count on your company to help us bridge the digital divide as we purposely move forward to a New Economy,” he added.

Dominguez, along with Converge ICT founder and CEO Dennis Anthony Uy and PSE president-CEO Ramon Monzon led the ringing of the opening bells at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) trading floor in Taguig City to mark the company’s listing on the main board of the bourse.

They were joined by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Emilio Aquino, Converge co-founder and president Grace Uy and PSE chief operating officer Roel Refran at the opening bell ceremony.

Apart from Converge ICT, the Injap Sia’s Merry Mart Consumer Corp. (MMCC)’s IPO also embarked in IPO last June 2020 amid the coronavirus-induced economic crisis,

The Finance Chief believes that Converge’s IPO is timely as it will provide the company with the means to rapidly upgrade its equipment and improve its operations at a time of fast-rising demand for digital services.

“At this moment, digital technologies have never been more important in our lives. Now, more than ever, we have become heavily reliant on fast and dependable internet services,” Dominguez said.

At this time when quarantine measures remain in place, Dominguez said the entire nation “relies on services that companies like Converge offer to continue our youth’s education, save enterprises, and retain and create jobs for the Filipino workers”.

“The pandemic has also highlighted the need to accelerate the shift to digital and cashless transactions,” Dominguez added.

On the part of the government, it is turning the current crisis into an opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation of its processes, with the goals of drastically cutting red tape, hastening the delivery of services to the people, and curbing corruption, he said.

Earlier, Dominguez said the government sees a “strong rebound” from the pandemic despite the strong headwinds facing the country and the rest of the world this year.

He gave this optimistic outlook despite challenges that include the expected contraction of the entire global economy by about 4.4 percent, and the forecast by President Duterte’s economic team that the Philippine economy may shrink by a higher-than-projected 6 percent this year.

But Dominguez expects the domestic economy to recover strongly in 2021 on the back of the sustained easing of mobility restrictions, the rollout of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 Law, and the additional economic reform measures meant to save pandemic-hit businesses, high infrastructure spending under the President’s signature initiative “Build, Build, Build,” and the hoped-for timely passage by the Congress of the 2021 national budget.

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