Trad­ing with good cards

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - HotSpot - - News -

Clock­ing mile­stones in PH mar­ket

The De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) hit a num­ber of high points this year that in the main boosted the mi­cro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) space, a key fo­cus area rec­og­nized for its im­pact on lo­cal out­put growth mea­sured as the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. MSMEs ac­count for 99.56 per­cent of the uni­verse of busi­ness en­ti­ties, with mi­croen­ter­prises mak­ing up 89.59 per­cent of the sys­tem while small en­ter­prises equal an­other 9.56 per­cent.

The sec­tor en­gages pri­mar­ily in whole­sale and re­tail trade, man­u­fac­tur­ing, ac­com­mo­da­tion and food ser­vices. Its ac­tiv­i­ties help gen­er­ate 62.9 per­cent of the coun­try’s em­ploy­ment numbers. Also, it con­trib­utes over 35 per­cent of to­tal value added to the econ­omy each year.

“We at­tribute our coun­try’s un­de­ni­able eco­nomic growth and suc­cess to the vi­brant en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of the MSME sec­tor, which plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in re­duc­ing poverty and

achiev­ing in­clu­sive growth,” Lopez said in his speech at the Na­tional MSME Sum­mit 2019 on 16 July in Pasay City.

Loans extended to the sec­tor un­der the agency’s mi­cro­fi­nanc­ing pro­gram, Pondo sa Pag­babago at Pag-asenso (P3), amounted to P3.10 bil­lion as of end-May this year. This was achieved only two and a half years fol­low­ing its es­tab­lish­ment in 2017 with a bud­get of only PI bil­lion. The pro­gram has ben­e­fit 83,088 re­cip­i­ents na­tion­wide.

The var­i­ous en­ter­prises may bor­row funds as small as P5,000 to as high as P200,000 on in­ter­est charges no higher than 2.5 per­cent, low enough as to blunt the rel­e­vance of the in­for­mal 5-6 lend­ing scheme which im­poses charges as high as 20 per­cent.

A re­port from the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent noted the

DTI extended fi­nanc­ing worth P100 mil­lion to in­ter­nally dis­placed res­i­dents of Marawi City at a job fair held last year. Un­der the P3 pro­gram, the agency set aside P50 mil­lion for in­ter­nally dis­placed res­i­dents of the war-torn city and still an­other P50 mil­lion for soldiers and their fam­i­lies af­fected by the con­flict.

Of the amount, the DTI said P5.28 mil­lion went to 364 in­ter­nally dis­placed res­i­dents and P11.96 mil­lion to 167 soldiers and/or their fam­i­lies.

Sep­a­rately, reg­is­tered busi­nesses grew to 1.42 mil­lion in May this year from only 1.39 mil­lion in De­cem­ber 2018.

Mean­while, pledged in­vest­ments at the Board of In­vest­ments in­creased 27.4 per­cent in the first six months this year to P304.4 bil­lion from only P238 bil­lion in the same pe­riod last year.

The pledges are sep­a­rate from ac­tual for­eign in­vest­ments surg­ing 375 per­cent to P69 bil­lion in the first half this year from P14 bil­lion from a year ago al­though do­mes­tic in­vest­ments still ac­counted for the bulk. Do­mes­tic in­vest­ments rose five per­cent to P235 bil­lion from P224 bil­lion in 2018.

Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez said the econ­omy re­mains strong:

“We re­main all the more op­ti­mistic as the bud­get im­passe has been re­solved.” The DTI tar­gets in­vest­ment pledges reach­ing P1 tril­lion this year from pledges of only P915 bil­lion in 2018.

Among the re­forms seen boost­ing the coun­try’s com­pet­i­tive­ness is spelled out un­der Repub­lic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness (EODB) law.

The coun­try’s un­de­ni­able eco­nomic growth and suc­cess to the vi­brant en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of the MSME sec­tor, which plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in re­duc­ing poverty and achiev­ing in­clu­sive growth.

Pres­i­dent Duterte urged his cab­i­net to pri­or­i­tize the ease of do­ing busi­ness and re­frain from en­gag­ing in cor­rup­tion and red tape. He told the Daily Tri­bune in a pre-SONA ex­clu­sive in­ter­view, “I have given the di­rec­tors only 15 days and the cab­i­net mem­bers, if you want an ocu­lar in­spec­tion that will take you a longer time, you tell me.” He then iden­ti­fied Lopez as one of his three for­mi­da­ble cab­i­nets.

Jeremiah Bel­ci­aga, ARTA di­rec­tor gen­eral, in tan­dem with Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Ali­cia dela Rosa-Bala and Lopez on 18 July signed the rules and reg­u­la­tions im­ple­ment­ing the law.

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