Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Obama backs co-ops as key in fight for food security

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President Barack Obama has signed into law the Global Food Security Act, which aims help end global hunger, poverty and malnutrition. Co-operatives are mentioned in the act as key stakeholders engaged in efforts to advance global food security programs and objectives.
The signing into law took place during the White House Summit on Global Development last month. “Development is not charity, it is one of the smartest investments we can make in our shared future,” said Mr Obama during the summit.
With the adoption of the Act, the Obama Administration has authorised more than USD $7bn for international food programmes and initiatives such as Feed the Future. The strategy focuses on increasing sustainable and equitable agricultural development, reducing global hunger and improving nutrition.
The act encourages leveraging resources and expertise through “partnerships with the private sector, farm organisations, co-operatives, civil society, faith-based organisations, and agricultural research and academic institutions”.
The White House estimates that last year the Feed the Future programme has helped more than nine million farmers and other agricultural producers adopt innovations and best practices to build their businesses and face the challenges posed by climate change.
The President also signed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016, which was introduced in October 2015. This bill requires USA government agencies to closely monitor and evaluate all foreign aid programmes based on their outcomes and improve transparency by publicly sharing the data about the results of the programmes partially through the portal.
Co-ops were represented at the Summit by Amy Coughenour Betancourt, chief operating officer of the National Co-operative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA).
Referring to the Act, she said: “The whole of government approach speaks to the priority this act has for tackling nutrition and food security issues,” said Ms Coughenour Betancourt. “From our flagship Feed the Future Yaajeende project in Senegal to integrating nutrition-led agriculture throughout our programs, NCBA CLUSA is dedicated to alleviating hunger and supporting the agricultural sector as a key to sustainable development.”
NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President of Advocacy, Alan Knapp, has worked with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Bob Casey, for two years to include co-operatives in the language of the Act.
Also commenting on the adoption of the act, National Security Advisor, Ambassador Susan Rice, wrote an article highlighting that development had become an important pillar of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. “As National Security Advisor, I’ve always considered food security to be not only a security imperative but also a moral imperative,” she said.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016



Database expected by 2017

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Data Collection. Credit Information Corporation President Jaime Garchitorena says they hope to have the country’s credit database running and accessible by early next year. While some institutions are slow to comply, he assured they want to assist them in submitting the required data, not penalize them. (Sun.Star foto/Arni Aclao)
STATE-RUN Credit Information Corporation (CIC) targets to start the credit database running and accesible by early 2017 amid limited information obtained from some financial institutions, specifically cooperatives.
This came from CIC President Jaime Garchitorena, who was at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu City yesterday to meet with some cooperatives.
“By early next year, they should be able to use the data in the process of lending. The first quarter of 2017 is our best case, but we are still dependent on the inflow of data submitted by the financial institutions,” the official said.
Presently, Garchitorena said some rural banks and a “very few” cooperatives have submitted their credit information to CIC, and he said the body is closely coordinating with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
“Rural banks still have issues (because) BSP and the banks are working out some mergers, acquisitions, and consolidation. Cooperatives are a bit of a different issue since they have a different regulator, the CDA,” he said, adding that they expect the CDA to issue a memorandum circular requiring all large and medium cooperatives to submit credit information to CIC.
Under Republic Act No. 9510 or the Credit Information System Act, banks, quasi-banks, their subsidiaries and affiliates, cooperatives, life insurance companies, credit card companies and other financial entities are required to submit basic credit data and updates on a regular basis to the CIC. The submission of basic credit data includes any negative and positive credit information that tends to update the credit status of borrowers.
“But beyond the benefit to their borrowers, their participation in the CIC’s credit information campaign is expected to alleviate common industry ailments, including non-performing loans and fraud, among others,” Garchitorena said.
The official said that by October, medium-sized cooperatives must be able to submit, at least partially, documents to CIC, and December for large cooperatives.
“We are not expecting a deep dive compliance from them. (Cooperatives) can create an account with CIC, and we are not asking them to give the (credit) data yet,” Garchitorena clarified.
Garchitorena expects to have substantial data by yearend, as all banks will be compliant within the year. Garchitorena said close to 100 percent of universal, commercial, and thrift banks have already complied with the requirement.
The CIC is also coordinating with telecommunication companies for sharing of data for its system, as this is the basic credit footprint of most people, Garchitorena said. He emphasized that having a credit information system will also help people get better access to loans.
CIC is a tool that can be used to protect the borrower from prejudicial lending practices that comes from a lack of credible, accurate, positive, and negative historical data, said Garchitorena.
“The more people entering credit registry through submission of loan data or other relevant data sources, the greater the likelihood of being able to grant a loan,” said Dr. Mario Lamberte, the team component leader of the USAID COMPETE Project.
For lenders, having a credit database can reduce non-performing loans by up to 75 percent and increase lending amounts by up to 200 percent without significantly increasing the risk of default or over-indebtedness. The resulting increase in revenues from interest and the reduction in provisioning for bad accounts will give coops greater latitude in lending more to those deserving of it, added CIC.
Aside from the benefits to both lender and borrower, Garchitorena wants it known that information being propagated by some claiming that CIC is penalizing cooperatives P30,000 per day for non-compliance is not accurate.
“The law states that we can impose penalty, but we choose not to,” Garchitorena explained.
At this stage, he said CIC will assist the cooperatives’ pain points, especially in the areas of data submission, availability of technology, and data quality.
“The CIC is more concerned with willful non-compliance, as this essentially means that lenders are willing to hide data that is essential to the economic growth of their borrowers and the country as a whole,” he added.
The CIC has been coordinating with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) led by Chairman Orlando Ravanera and supportive federations to help manage misinformation.
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