By Wendell Vigilia, September 17 2018; Malaya Business Insight

Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

THE House of Representatives has adopted a resolution urging President Duterte to raise the 2019 budgets of three programs for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

In House Resolution 1772 which was principally authored by Rep. Peter Unabia (PDP Laban, Misamis Oriental), lawmakers reminded the President of his promise to help advance MSMEs.

The resolution said that during the 2017 Asean Business and Investment Summit, Duterte vowed to build the capacities of MSMEs which form the backbone of the Asean collective economy, to make them active and competitive players in the national, regional, and global economies.

Congressmen also reminded the President that he promised to hasten the MSME’s integration into the national/regional value chains and increase the budget to support MSMEs.

The three MSMEs and the proposed allocation for them are as follows: Kapatid Mentor ME Program from the present P150 million to P300 million; Shared Service Facilities Project from P1 billion to P1.5 billlion; and the Trade Fairs of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion from P20.6 million to P44 million.

The resolution underscored the need to further support MSMEs as they comprise 99.57 percent of all businesses in the country, of which 89.63 percent are micro, 9.5 percent are small, and 0.44 percent are medium.

Moreover, MSMEs employ 63.3 percent of the total labor force, and contribute 35.7 percent to the total value added, the resolution said.

The DTI implements the Kapatid Mentor ME Program which provides MSMEs with the necessary capability and linkages to financing and marketing through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners in different areas of entrepreneurship and business operations.

The implementation of the Kapatid Mentor ME Program is also in line with the Philippine Development Plan 2017­-2022 which aims to provide financial literacy training for MSMEs, the resolution states.

The DTI also implements the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project, which aims to improve the competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency of MSMEs by providing them with machinery, tools, equipment, systems, skills, and knowledge under a shared system. The DTI Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (BDTP) conducts trade fairs for the efficient marketing of local products and services.

The House committee on small business and entrepreneurship development, in its meeting with the DTI last Feb. 27, 2018, determined the need for the allocation of additional funds for the Kapatid Mentor ME Program, SSF Project and the trade fairs of the BDTP.

“The strategies of the DTI in support of MSMEs are focused on the provision of access to finance, business opportunities, and capacity­building, among others. Among the barriers to the growth of MSMEs are low productivity and efficiency, and lack of access to the market,” the resolution said.