‘Build entrepreneurship culture’

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


BUDGET Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad yesterday challenged the private sector to help build a culture of entrepreneurship in the Philippines at the micro level to help lower poverty incidence of the country.

Abad encouraged the private sector to consider investing in micro and small scale businesses to help create job opportunities and eventually help alleviate poverty.

“If we want to make a dent on poverty we need to build the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) industries,” Abad said during the open forum of the Regional Development Council (RDC) full council meeting at the City Sports Club Cebu.

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Abad said there are already eight major micro-financial institutions that are serving the requirements of the micro and small sector. He said that if the impact is multiplied on the ground, it would make a big dent on poverty.

“Right now a lot of job opportunities are located in the services sector: BPO, transportation, finance real estate and government services, but we are not investing in institution and capacity-building in micro and small scale businesses,” he said.

The budget chief cited as an example the government’s efforts in urging entrepreneurs in Mindanao to drive coffee production. He said they challenged the industry to identify coffee-growing locations and pledged to build farm-to-market roads in areas where there is substantial investment for coffee production.

Abad said the government believes the private sector is really the “engine of innovation and growth.”

“The challenge now for the private sector is how do you get down to the community?” he said. Abad said they are looking at boosting SME development on top of tourism and rural electrification to introduce more jobs for the country’s growing workforce and reduce poverty “in a concrete and sustainable way.”

Although the Philippines is the second fastest growing economy in the world, the country is still a consumption-driven economy fueled by the strong inflows of overseas remittances and growth in BPO, he said.

He said the country should shift to productivity-driven growth as this is what would sustain employment and permanently reduce poverty.

“We are not yet there but we can see that the potential is very high...They see this country as having huge potential both as a source of exportable materials and as good investment destination. That’s why we need the private sector,” said Abad.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2014.

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