THE business sector is asking the Bacolod City Government to increase its spending, especially in terms of infrastructure and cash for work programs, to improve the public's purchasing power and also to start recovering the economy from the adverse effects of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Chief Executive Officer Frank Carbon, who met with some representatives of the city's economic recovery team at Felicia's Pastry and Cake in the city on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, said the purchasing power of the consumers remains weak.
Carbon said no additional stores have opened and their sales have not increased yet.
"The money currently circulating is still mainly for food, very minimal goes to clothing, shelter and recreation," he said, adding that "the local government has to spend more than what it said to have already poured in."
The local business community earlier said it is about time to put more effort into economic and business recovery initiatives as Covid responses have started to gain ground and restrictions have been easing already.
Part of their proposals is to start programs that will generate jobs and livelihood through restarting infrastructure projects, implementing cash for work programs and providing micro-grants or loans for micro-businesses.
The business leader reiterated that while waiting for the national stimulus to reach the ground, the local government has, in the meantime, needs to infuse more liquidity to create more jobs and livelihood resulting in better purchasing power.
Carbon said when there's purchasing power, businesses will open up.
He said when their sales are increasing because the government has infused more money in circulation, they could also hire more, thus, further strengthening the purchasing power.
"There's also a need to open up intra-region trading and tourism, so there has to be ferry services between the islands of Negros and Panay," the MBCCI official said, stressing that leisure travel restrictions have to be removed to make sea vessel operations economically viable.
The city, during the meeting, was represented by Executive Assistant George Zulueta and former administrator lawyer John Orola.
For Land Bank Philippines Director Jesus Hinlo, who also attended the meeting, they can help local government units in terms of funding purposely for economic recovery.