THERE are enough laws and government line agencies in the country that assists, promotes and guide businesses from the smallest entry level to the medium scale that are can already stand on its own as a booming enterprise.
Other than the support services provided by government offices such as the Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other institutions such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and state colleges and universities, there is also a Magna Carta that support, strengthen and encourage the growth and development of small and medium scale enterprises.
The Magna Carta for MSMEs is a landmark legislation enacted by the Philippine Congress in 1991 as Republic Act 6977 and further amended by Republic Acts as the law meant to develop the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit by providing a business environment conducive for MSMEs. Created under said Magna Carta to help promote and develop and MSMEs is the Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Council that establishes and supervises Negosyo Centers together with DTI as one of the banner programs of the administration.
The end beneficiaries of course are the micro, small and medium enterprises defined as any business activity or enterprise engaged in industry, agribusiness and/or services, whether single proprietorship, cooperative, partnership or corporation whose total assets of not more than P3 million for micro, between P3 million and P15 million for small and P15 million to P100 million for medium. It includes those arising from loans but excludes the land on which the particular business entity’s office, plant and equipment are situated.
The MSMED Council under the Powers and Functions of the Act shall help establish the needed environment and opportunities conducive to the growth and development of the MSME sector and recommend to the President and the Congress all policy matters affecting MSMEs.
Members of the MSMED Council are tasked to promote the productivity and viability of MSMEs by way of directing and/or assisting relevant government agencies and institutions at the national, regional and provincial levels towards the provision of business training courses, technical training for technicians and skilled laborers and continuing skills upgrading programs. The council according the Magna Carta can also be tapped to provide labor-management guidance, assistance and improvement of the working conditions of employees in MSMEs.
Said council can also be sought for guidance and assistance regarding product quality, product development and product diversification including guidance and assistance for the adoption of new production techniques such as appropriate technologies using indigenous raw materials.
The council can likewise be tapped for assistance in marketing and distribution of products of MSMEs through local supply-demand information, industry and provincial profiles, overseas marketing promotion, domestic market linkages and the establishment of common service facilities such as common warehouse, grains storage, agro-processing and other facilities such as trucking.
Among the assistance and guidance being intensified by the MSMED Council is access to credit through a simplified multi-agency financing program that encourages the development of other modes of financing that also provide effective credit guarantee systems that encourages the formation of credit guarantee associations. Said financing program offers concessional interest rates and lower financing fees which may include incentives for prompt credit payments and effective substitution of government guarantee cover on loans for the borrower’s lack of collateral.
These and other provisions like the bankruptcy preventive measures through the setting up of a mutual relief system for distressed enterprises and the establishment of measures such as insurance against extraordinary disasters are just some of the helpful things that I learned about the Magna Carta on MSMEs. Well, there are the intensified information dissemination campaigns and entrepreneurship education activities and I have actually observed peer-to-peer consultations in Baguio and elsewhere where newbie entrepreneurs get to seek helpful tips from industry leaders. Well, I also look forward to being an entrepreneur myself after having worked in government under seven administrations and I may have to call myself as “Artepreneur”.