The Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) welcomed the call of Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to provide full support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through a host of MSME-friendly programs and policies.
In his June 1 privilege speech, Pangilinan emphasized that “government must feed the soil that is the Philippine economy so that we can have an economic ecosystem of thriving enterprises.”
Pangilinan added that “government must be able to match the Filipino entrepreneur’s toughness and adaptability by providing MSMEs-friendly programs and policies.”
The Asian Development Bank, he noted, has found that “an average of 73.1 percent MSMEs were forced to close business following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent quarantine classifications.”
“Ang pinaka-apekatado, ang maliliit, 76.4 percent, at ang nasa services, food, resto, hotel, 72.7 percent. Pito sa bawat sampung maliliit na negosyo ang nagsara,” Pangilinan said.
[Translation: “Among the most affected are the smallest at 76.4% and those in services, food, restaurants and hotels at 72.7%. Seven out of every 10 small businesses have closed.”]
“With the challenges they face, it will not simply take a village, but collective institutional action to help our MSMEs overcome these hurdles arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and rally toward recovery,” he continued.
In light of this, PHILEXPORT aired support for Pangilinan’s statement and appealed for his help to push for giving priority to the swift passage of measures and initiatives that will assist in the recovery of MSMEs and exporters.
PHILEXPORT president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. in a May 31 letter to Pangilinan recommended that of the P100 billion provision for capacity building of critically impacted sectors in the Bayanihan bill, P100 million be administered by the Small Business Corporation as soft loans for the various needs of MSMEs.
Ortiz-Luis also batted for fiscal and tax support policies in the 2022 budget such as the following: postpone VAT and income tax collections and payment of social service contributions; support innovation and technology-based projects; and increase transfer payments from the central government to local governments to hasten disbursements.
PHILEXPORT further pressed for other forms of direct assistance to MSME exporters. It said the Bangko Sentral should come up with more MSME-friendly lending policies to convince conservative banks to lend to MSMEs.
The export group also urged the Senate to include the following bills in its priority list for their impact on the economy, investments and employment:
o Magna Carta for MSMEs to facilitate financing through out-of-the-box schemes that truly respond to market realities.
o Public Service Act to distinguish public utilities from public services and open up sectors for foreign investments, help improve service quality, and reduce cost to business and trade.
o Open Access in Data Transmission Act to bridge the broadband infrastructure gap by bringing in more players and significantly improve data transmission services throughout the country.
o A Bayanihan 3 bill that offers real, significant stimulus to the the economy, enough to generate new jobs or restore massive employment needed for sustainable recovery
Ortiz-Luis said PHILEXPORT is also hoping to work with both houses to amend the Charter of the Philippine Ports Authority to address the conflict in its regulatory and developmental powers that contributes to higher shipping costs.
It also seeks the enactment of the Warehouse Receipts Act to help facilitate MSME financing, and the ratification of the Philippine accession to the Istanbul Convention that will implement the ATA Carnet to facilitate the temporary admission of goods for purposes such as trade fairs and exhibitions.