THE newly elected president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) wants to connect all members of the chamber to one mobile application that will allow them to do business with each other.
Virgilio Espeleta said this will be one of his programs during his one-term stint that would address supply-chain issues of member companies and at the same time lessen the dependency of companies on foreign importation.
“We want to enhance the value creation of our member-companies so they could produce higher-value services,” said Espeleta, adding that he wants Cebu to shift to a production-based economy from a consumption-driven one.
Espeleta admitted he was alarmed by recent findings of the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. that out of the 100 container vans that enter the country, only 30 vans are shipped out with goods in them while the remaining 70 containers are emptied out.
According to Espeleta, this just shows that the country has a trade imbalance in favor of more imports than exports.
The Philippines posted a record trade deficit of $41.44 billion in 2018 as imports surged.
Last year, merchandise exports declined 1.8 percent to $67.49 billion from $68.71 billion in 2017.
On the other hand, imports jumped 13.4 percent to $108.93 billion last year from 2017’s $96.09 billion.
This wider trade deficit had resulted in a ballooning current-account deficit, as more dollars were being spent for importation.
Espeleta said that by linking local businesses with one another, this would somehow lessen importation activities, as companies turn to their fellow members to source their requirements.
“This business-to-business for inclusive growth (B2Big) will inspire all member companies to buy from each other. They shall be part of each other’s supply chain,” said Espeleta.
He said that they will make use of a mobile app that will serve as a marketplace for member companies to showcase their products and transact business.
“This specific app will help us grow business from within,” he said.
Espeleta said he will also continue the programs laid out by his predecessors, particularly those on business mentorship.
“We will continue our weekly business clinics but this will depend on the areas of concern of our member companies,” he said.
CCCI has more than 800 member companies.
Besides going digital in terms of operations and pushing for mentorship programs, Espeleta said that under his term, they will work alongside the government in the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Law.
Espeleta said they hope that in the coming months, the government will release the implementing rules and regulations of the law.
Creating more chamber chapters is also a priority under his term. Recently, CCCI established a chamber chapter in Cordova.
Espeleta, who is also a Kapatid Mentor Me (KMM) program lead coach, also vowed to continue assisting the Department of Trade and Industry in sustaining the public-private sector mentorship program.
He also vowed to invite more business owners to become KMM mentors.