MSME marketplace

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has realized the importance of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in promoting economic stability, generating employment and alleviating poverty that in his speech at the APEC Summit in Vietnam, he called on big businesses to tap such entrepreneurs so they can be part of their supply and value chain.

Duterte is also considering alloting an initial P40 billion to P50 billion in funding support for MSMEs. The money can be used to train and educate MSME owners, promote and market their products and services, and develop the market for them.

Other ways to help MSMEs thrive and multiply their numbers are low-interest loans, access to credit facility, and tax exemption. As many MSME owners are self-employed individuals, the personal income tax exemption proposed by the TRAIN bill indirectly boosts MSME development as entrepreneurs can channel resources to their businesses.

Government agencies can also help MSMEs prosper. The DTI, for example, can provide a free marketplace for MSMEs by asking malls to provide space for them just like what Robinson’s did for Maranao entrepreneurs as part of the government’s Marawi recovery effort. The DOTr and DPWH can allot free spaces for MSME stores in new bus and train terminals, seaports and airports to be built under the Build Build Build program. If non-home-based micro- and small-sized enterprises can save on rent and lease cost, it would help accelerate their growth and turn them into medium-sized enterprises in no time.

Based on 2015 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, 99.5 percent or 896,839 of the 900,914 commercial establishments in the country were MSMEs that provided 4.78 million jobs. Increasing their number would help generate more jobs and make more families self-sufficient.

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