De Lima bill boosts MSME support amid contagion


Opposition Sen. Leila M. de Lima filed a measure seeking to boost entrepreneurship by strengthening, empowering and improving the financing and other support programs for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) 2400 that seeks to amend Republic Act 6977, amended, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for MSMEs” to help MSMEs in the Philippines to recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic.

“MSMEs are very vulnerable to external shocks in the economy. This has been witnessed and proven in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The health crisis severely affected MSMEs as it took a huge toll on their revenues due to economic uncertainties,” she said.

“The lack of industry-specific laws and policies contribute too much of the challenges they have to endure. With the industry lacking the support that they need, they are left alone to battle it out,” she added.

Based on the report of United Nations Development Programme Philippines, MSMEs employ approximately 63 percent of the work force in the Philippines, accounting for 99.5 percent of all business establishments.

In terms of MSMEs’ exports contribution, MSMEs account for 25 percent of the country’s total exports revenue and an estimate of 60 percent of all exporters in the country belong to the MSME sector. Likewise, MSMEs are responsible for 40 percent of the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP).

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) claimed that MSMEs are indeed the backbone of Asian economies, especially in the Philippines, and considered as its driving force to economic development.

However, despite their key role in the Philippine economy, de Lima lamented that MSMEs remain stagnant in terms of growth and development as they receive inadequate government support, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

“The pandemic has been an additional impediment to MSME growth and development in the Philippines alongside the struggle to face the lingering non-financial [cost of getting electricity, heavy regulation, high tax rates, and corruption] and financial barriers [access to finance] of MSMEs in the country,” she said.

“In this regard, now is not the time to shirk our obligation to come to the aid of Filipinos who belong to this important sector who are now at the brink of closures and breakdowns,” she added.

Under SB 2400, the national government, its bureaus, offices and agencies shall allocate at least 10 percent of all its procurement opportunities for goods and services to eligible MSMEs.

Moreover, duly registered MSMEs shall be entitled to a discount of at least 20 percent on shipping and delivery fees for their products and raw materials, as well as for mailing, freight and other similar services provided by either public or private couriers.

Aside from covering financial support, de Lima pointed out that SB 2400 also provides support and benefits for equally important aspects of MSME developments, such as training and information services.

“It also encourages private enterprises to provide incentives to investments and create an economic atmosphere of assistance and collaboration,” de Lima said.

Ang MSMEs na subok nang nagdadala ng kabuhayan at benepisyo sa Pilipino ang mga negosyong dapat suportahan at payabungin ng gobyerno. Hindi yung binabayaran lang ng utang na loob kahit kaduda-duda ang serbisyo, nandaraya at nananamantala pa sa gitna ng pandemya,” she added.

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