THE appointment of Go Negosyo’s Ramon “Mon” Lopez as the incoming trade secretary has sparked enthusiasm in the Cebu business community, mostly composed of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) vice president for business development Virgilio “Nonoy” Espeleta said he is optimistic about Lopez’s leadership in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), being a man who has been actively working with MSMEs.

“I believe Mon can do the job. I know him and he has been supporting MSMEs since before,” Espeleta said.

Lopez serves as the executive director of Go Negosyo, a non-stock, non-profit organization advocating for MSME development in the country by providing programs and mentorship.

For Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Cebu president Robert Go, having Lopez, who has been with the private sector active in helping MSMEs, is a welcome development. However, he also took note of DTI’s huge responsibility to big businesses and foreign investments.

Also a supporter of MSMEs, Go emphasized the importance of helping MSMEs, especially those at the micro-level, to achieve inclusive growth.

“There will be more opening of backyard and homegrown companies and hopefully more teeth (to policies) in helping the sector,” Go said. With the right support, Go, the founder of Prince Hypermart, believes this will make the Philippines a tiger economy in the making.

Jay Aldeguer of the Islands Group also expressed his support of Lopez’s appointment. Published in Go Negosyo’s website, Aldeguer described the incoming DTI secretary as someone who understands “very clearly” the plight of the SMEs.

“His exposure and clear understanding of entrepreneurs, both big and small, will allow him to chart programs that will empower and propel the SMEs for steady growth,” Aldeguer said.

Family business consultant Enrique Soriano, in his recent visit to Cebu, also mentioned Lopez’s expected contributions for the development of MSMEs in the country.

“Mon will breed new initiatives to foster MSMEs in the country,” Soriano said. MSMEs in the country account for 98 percent of Philippine businesses.

Growth of MSMEs signals growth of the society’s fringes, business owners believe.

Carlos Domiguez III, an appointee of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Department of Finance, noted during the economic forum with business owners on Monday that the Aquino administration failed to achieve inclusive growth.

“The macroeconomic numbers, however, do not tell the whole story. Our people did not vote for change last May 9 because the macroeconomic numbers are good. They voted for change because the good macroeconomic numbers did not translate into a good life for all,” Domiguez told some 300 business owners who flew to Davao City on Monday for a two-day Sulong Pilipinas economic summit.

With the right government support to MSMEs, Go believes this will translate to inclusive growth.

Duterte, during the campaign period on April, also pledged to give his support to MSMEs by allocating P18 billion in funding for them, following his strong criticism against loan sharks.