Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has batted for continued support such as loan moratorium, rent relief and industry support funds to troubled micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as the way forward to recovery.

At the virtual hearing by the Senate committee on trade, commerce, and entrepreneurship, which tried to assess the impact of the COVID-19 on MSMEs, Lopez stressed the need for continued support to MSMEs noting that the road to recovery is still full of challenges.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

“As continuity is key to successful delivery of services to our people, especially the marginalized sectors, there is need to boost government’s assistance to MSMEs thru DTI programs such as the Livelihood Seeding Program, Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3), and CARES,” said Lopez.

Aside from legislation for key support financial provisions, Lopez has pushed for more dynamic policy directions such as rent relief, loan payment moratorium, project funding, among others are of utmost importance in the domestic businesses’ early recovery. 

The DTI further said that “The President may exercise moral suasion to encourage lessors and lessees to develop schemes that will be beneficial to both parties.” 

In pushing for continued relief to MSMEs, Lopez noted that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has already discontinued the loan payment moratorium policy under Bayanihan 1 and 2.

Despite this, Lopez expressed hope that the government can issues policies to encourage BSP-supervised financial institutions to continue to provide relief measures to its clients by renewing, restructuring, or extending the terms of their loans.

In pushing for sustained relief efforts, Lopez also mentioned suggestions, including those from industry association on how to support the food and beverage service industry players which are excluded in the definition of registered business enterprises for incentives under Sec. 293 of the CREATE law.

Some of the recommendations include gradual reopening or increase in percentage capacity, microfinancing with grace period, bank loan principal payment moratorium through BSP, tax payments moratorium, business renewal fees with the local government units should be based on 2020 sales and not 2019 sales, persons with disability and senior citizen discounts be deductible from their tax due computations, and, budget allocation for a Restaurant/Business Revitalization Fund for 2022.

In addition, the DTI recommended a budget for a Livelihood Support Fund to affected sectors to address unemployment and livelihood.

In the same Senate hearing, Lopez presented that the P200 million allocation for DTI’s Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) program is already 99 percent utilized or P197.429 million disbursed as of end May this year. The PPG has 23,007 livelihood kit beneficiaries, assisted 25,898 clients, and conducted 3,570 trainings.

Source: Manila Bulletin (