IN a bid to fast track the recovery of the country’s economy from the pandemic, Senator Joel Villanueva believes the key lies in stimulating medium-small-medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The senator stressed that MSMEs popularized locally made products in the domestic and international markets at a crucial time that the country’s economy is recovering from the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement for this year’s Made in the Philippines Product Week (August 17-23), Villanueva batted for continued support for MSMEs, reminding that local products boost local employment, stimulates the economy, and instills hometown and national pride.
“Let us take for example the sweets and delicacies from Bulacan. There’s a unique sense of pride that something that delicious can be made in your hometown by your kababayans, and shared throughout the country and the whole world. Every Filipino should feel that kind of pride.”
Villanueva field Senate Bill No. 138, to be known as the MSME Stimulus Act, creating the MSME Growth Stimulus Program to extend assistance, strengthen, and facilitate the growth and development of MSMEs for regional job generation and preservation.
Villanueva said the bill is “geared to help MSMEs become resilient and disaster-proof,” based on the lessons learned from the pandemic and recent economic crises.
“Most of our MSMEs ,” he recalled, “took massive losses during the pandemic, leading to their closures and laying off employees.”
Villanueva stressed that “now that the economy is opening up, our MSMEs need booster shots of government aid to keep local goods and services afloat and help MSMEs keep their employees,” he said.
As proposed, the MSME Growth Stimulus program provides interest-free loan programs through the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
Villanueva’s Senate Bill No. 138 creates the MSME Stimulus Contingency Fund, which can be implemented for priority job-generating industries affected by disasters, public health emergencies, armed conflict, and other related contingencies such as technological or policy-related disruptions.
It also mandates the Department of Finance, through the Social Security System, to provide wage subsidies to cover all or a portion of the wages of the employees of qualified MSMEs affected by emergencies described above.
“The MSME Growth Stimulus program shows how much we believe and take pride in our local enterprises and entrepreneurs as crucial components in our economic recovery,” Villaneuva added, recalling the Department of Trade and Industry reporting MSMEs comprise 99.5 percent of all businesses in the country, and generate 62.66 percent of the country’s employment in 2020.
Image credits: PNA/Leilanie G. Adriano