More MSMEs resume biz operations; need financing aid

More micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the country which stopped businesses amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic have resumed operations and a number of them need financing assistance.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona said results of the impact assessment survey of Covid-19 on the MSME sector conducted by the DTI from May 27 to June 9 this year revealed that the 25.9 percent of those enterprises which closed or stopped their business operations went down to 10 percent.

“It (survey result) shows that our MSMEs are slowly recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said in a virtual business conference.

Lantayona said businesses that were slowly resuming their operations surged to 44 percent from 22.1 percent for the period June 4 to 17, 2020.

The number of those in full operations also increased to 44 percent from 37 percent for the period April 16 to 30 this year, she said.

In terms of assistance needed by MSMEs affected by the pandemic, Lantayona said survey results indicate that 64.8 percent of these enterprises require financing aid.

Compliance with government regulations came in second at 16.1 percent, followed by marketing aid, and others mostly comprising an enabling policy business environment such as assistance on policies and regulations, taxes, discounts and incentives, and rentals and utilities, among others, she added.

Lantayona said a framework of the current MSME development plan has identified three focused areas namely business environment, business capacity, and business opportunities.

Among the strategic goals under the focused areas are improved access to finance which involves streamlining loan processes and capacitating financial institutions to cater to the MSMEs, and improved access to markets linking these enterprises to broader markets such as global supply chains and e-commerce, she said.

Under the strategic goal on improved access to finance, Lantayona said the DTI, through its financing arm Small Business Corporation, launched the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) and the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) programs for the MSMEs.

She said loans are provided with no collateral requirement and at a maximum interest rate of 2.5 percent per month under P3, a microfinance program that aims to provide an affordable loan program for MSMEs as alternative to the usurious “5-6” money lending scheme.

Lantayona said MSMEs can also avail of loans at maximum of P5 million with grace period up to 12 months under the Bayanihan CARES program.

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