Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva reiterated his push for financial aid for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to enhance their competitiveness and make them a sustainable backbone of the Philippine economy.
“Marami po sa ating MSMEs ang may abilidad pero walang access sa mas malaking puhunan para mapalago ito,” Villanueva said as the country celebrates the National MSMEs week.
“Anuman pong ayuda sa MSMEs, ay may potensyal na magdala ng doble o higit pang benepisyo para sa ating ekonomiya,” he added.
Villanueva earlier filed Senate Bill No. 138 or the MSME Stimulus Act, which will create a program to extend assistance, and strengthen and facilitate the growth and development of MSMEs for regional job generation.
A highlight of the measure is the creation of a stimulus contingency fund that may be tapped for job-generating industries affected by disasters, public health emergencies, armed conflict and other related contingencies.
The bill 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 qualified MSMEs affected by emergencies, upon compliance with certain conditions.
Villanueva said the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic should prompt the government to help MSMEs become resilient and disaster-proof during a crisis.
While comprising around 99.5% of business which accounts for 64.67% of employment in the country, the senator pointed out that support for MSMEs remains wanting.
A report by the Asian Development Bank showed that financing support for Philippine MSMEs amounts to a mere $23 billion, a far cry from the $78 billion Vietnam provides to its own MSMEs.
Aside from the MSME Stimulus Act, the Majority Leader has other proposed bills to provide support for MSMEs such as the Simplified Procedures and Provision for Tax Relief to Micro Enterprises and. Strengthening Access to Credit of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Villanueva is a co-sponsor and co-author of the Institutionalization of the Shared Service Facilities Project for MSMEs.
Villanueva said that while employment figures are going up, much needs to be done especially for the MSME sector that strives to thrive on its own.
“We often refer to MSMEs as the lifeblood of the economy, but we must not forget they need a lifeline, too, to survive and grow,” Villanueva said.