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Loan applications of MSMEs hit P2 B


Loans filed by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the SB Corp., the micro financing arm of the government, has reached P2 billion, double the agency’s P1 billion fund allocation for lending to this sector affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

 Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (Bloomberg file photo)

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (Bloomberg file photo)

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said SB Corp. has already started this month, June, to release some approved loan applications. But since SB Corp has only P1 billion fund, the DTI has made an arrangement with the Department of Finance to borrow more money from two government banks Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). SB Corp has also an arrangement where it serves as a loan originator for the two banks.

Lopez stressed the need to help MSMEs restart their operations as they account for 70 percent of employment generation. SB Corp. offers a 6 percent annual interest rate for its borrowers.

To grow the MSME sector, Lopez reiterated his support of the move by the Department of Finance to require all online sellers to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue to protect consumers. Lopez also stressed that registering with the government will also ensure growth of the enterprises. But for those just selling out of habit or intermittently selling online may no longer file.

The rule though, he stressed is for all businesses to register with the government regardless of size. Those that fall below the P250,000 in annual net sales are exempted from income tax payments. He cited the explosion of entrepreneurs over the years as there are now over 6 million unregistered micro enterprises from only 900,000 three years ago.

Lopez explained that one reason the country’s e-commerce has not really taken off despite the higher internet usage in the country is largely because of the issue of trust.

“Registration of your business with the government addresses the element of trust,” he stressed.
Cong. Wes Gatchalian, also a panelist at the “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” said that registering the online sellers is also one way of levelling the playing field because those being sold online are the same items sold in malls by vendors, who closed their stores during the lockdowns and are therefore unable to sell their products.

During a hearing, Gatchalian said that DTI reported of 9,000 complaints against online scammers for the January to May period alone while the Philippine National Police also reported of hundreds of illegal online transactions and arrests of perpetrators.

Thus, Lopez said they are in support of the bill Internet Transactions Act or House Bill No. 6122 filed by Gatchalian.
Gatchalian cited a study by Google which showed that the country’s e-commerce can grow by more than three times to $25 billion by 2025 from the current $7 billion in 2020.
The report also noted of 67 percent internet penetration rate, which is higher than the global average of 54 percent. But despite the higher internet penetration, the Philippines has the lowest gross market value among the top 6 ASEAN countries.

This was attributed to three factors: low average shipment is only $18 per transaction; slow internet connection speed at only 12 mbps; and 99 percent of all transactions are cash-based. Only 4.5 percent in the Philippines have mobile money account, 32 percent have bank accounts and 63.5 percent have no formal bank account.

As such, he pointed out, the internet economy is contributing only 2 percent of Philippine GDP.
Gatchalian also said that third party platforms, which carry lots of vendors in their marketplace, must take responsibility and should abide by the rules whether they are local or foreign.

But these mostly foreign-owned third party platforms and their sellers are able to get away because there is no specific law that governs them. He said his bill is expected to ensure growth in the country’s e-commerce.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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