DTI-Central Visayas to help MSMEs reopen

THE Department of Trade and Industry-Central Visayas (DTI 7) are in the process of releasing vouchers for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) so they can re-start their businesses with the easing of restrictions under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

Maria Elena Arbon, DTI Central Visayas 7 assistant director, said the vouchers will enable MSMEs to buy supplies or products that are beneficial for their businesses.

"The vouchers can range from P6,000 to P10,000 worth of products, depending on the needs of the particular MSME. It can be redeemed from a particular supermarket," she said.

The voucher system procures the most-needed products of MSMEs.

The DTI central office is also studying the program and plans to extend it to overseas Filipino workers who lost their jobs when the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic struck. That way, they can have a source of livelihood while they are still in the country.

Arbon said certain qualifications will have to be met, adding that they are still identifying affected MSMEs and have yet to come up with figures and the type of businesses that the program will target.

Cebu City has been placed under GCQ status starting Monday, June 1, 2020, by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases so it can reopen its economy, as it is vital for the flow of goods and services in the Visayas and Mindanao area.

Arbon said the restrictions imposed by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 had forced MSMEs to go on the online platform to sell their products.

She said the trade agency already trained many entrepreneurs in the basics of online selling.

"We have conducted these trainings even before and we are checking up on them on their needs so they can already open up their businesses and get the economy running," she said.

Rey Calooy, president of the Filipino-Cebuano Business Club, said they are taking a “wait-and-see” attitude if consumer buying behavior has changed in the last two months.

Calooy feared the market is not yet ready, which would translate to a weak buying power.

Many people in Metro Cebu and Cebu Province have been out of work for the last two months since their employers were forced to shut down operations because these weren’t considered “essential” in the fight against Covid-19.

Some were forced to count on the government for financial assistance in the form of the social amelioration program. / JOB


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