THE Department of Trade and Industry or DTI is at the forefront in the development and sustained health of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
So much has been written about the success of the MSMEs and their important role in our economy. The Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial of July 20, 2020, summed it all up: If there is one sector of the economy that is really reeling badly from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, it must be that of the micro, small and medium enterprises.
Since most of the MSMEs cannot adequately compete with bigger industries, they should have the maximum support from the government. Recently, I've read that big banks, both domestic and with international clout, have extended soft loans to the country's small businesses, not only to shore up their capital bases but also to make them competitive and strong in these turbulent times.
Again, from the DTI, we've come to know that of the 1.42 million registered businesses nationwide, 99 percent belong to the MSME sector and three out of every five of them employed Filipinos to work in MSMEs which are rightly called "the backbone of the economy."
For its part, the DTI has extended assistance to the MSME sector of P120 billion in loan guarantees to badly hit small businesses and the P1 billion loan fund allotted by DTI last April 2020 to microenterprises (with asset size of P3 million and below and up to nine employees) and small businesses (asset size of up to P15 million and maximum of 99 workers) with an interest rate of minimal 0.5 percent.
Having ascertained the government's support and assistance to the MSMEs, it is about time that the private sector is called to push up the financial status of these small enterprises.
SM malls and the Ayalas have waived rentals on stalls for the "duration of the lockdowns for those affected and unable to operate during this period".This included the MSMEs engaged in the sale of agricultural produce. Their loans were given grace periods within which they could be liquidated, with the encouragement of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Consumers should also do their part to help local MSMEs survive the crisis. They should willingly and without prodding patronize the products being sold by the MSMEs and no other. This way, the sales of these enterprises will soar and prosper and would encourage small enterprises to go on. Repeat sales should also be made to encourage them to continue the race.