MANILA –Bulk of the budget of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) next year is allocated to its projects and programs to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency is getting PHP5.8 billion next year under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last week.
He said that this budget was higher from the PHP4.7 billion allocation for the DTI this year.
Lopez said budget for MSME initiatives alone reached about PHP2.0 billion.
Some PHP1.0 billion was allocated for shared service facility (SSF) program, which provides equipment to MSMEs to produce quality products and make the sector more competitive in both domestic and international markets.
The budget was augmented in the Senate with additional PHP800 million for the SSF program.
It was reported by Lopez early this year that the SSF program would be getting PHP200-million allocation for 2018.
With the higher budget for SSF program, the DTI chief said the agency can roll out at least 200 shared service facilities, adding to the current 2,000 facilities nationwide.
“That 200 facilities is like 10 percent of the current,” Lopez said, noting that the 200 facilities will be shared by small-size businesses through cooperatives.
“It’s good enough. We can help more MSMEs,” he added.
Lopez stressed that providing machines and equipment especially to micro entrepreneurs is a “vital ingredient” to help MSMEs grow their activities.
Moreover, DTI’s microfinance program Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) under its financing arm Small Business (SB) Corp. also got PHP1.0 billion fund in 2018.
Lopez said the department had disbursed close to PHP1.0 billion for this year for microfund borrowers, particularly to individuals in the provinces who would like to fund their entrepreneurial activities.
The P3 was launched January 2017 to give better financial access to MSMEs, particularly in the 30 poorest provinces in the country, and for Filipinos to avoid loan sharks like “5-6” lending scheme.
The government can lend PHP5,000 up to PHP100,000 at 2.5 percent monthly interest rate.
Although the agency eyes for higher budget in order to boost its support to other initiatives like international trade promotion, among others, Lopez said DTI had acknowledged that there are sectors that would need a big boost in their funds such as education, health, defense, and other social services.
“Our support is facilitative, providing environment for the businesses. We’re more on enabling support,” he said. “So it will be a budget to teach them how to fish,” Lopez noted.
President Duterte has identified MSMEs as priority sector of his administration. (PNA)