Over half of MSMEs halted operations due to COVID — DTI
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - May 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 50 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have halted operations as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in his presentation to members of the House of Representatives via a Zoom meeting yesterday that 52.66 percent of MSMEs nationwide have stopped or closed operations due to the ongoing health crisis, based on monitoring of the agency’s regional offices.

Meanwhile, 12.5 percent were on limited operations and 34.79 percent remained fully operational.

 “Because of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) that is continuing up to May 15, a big chunk [of MSMEs] have stopped operations in NCR (National Capital Region),” Lopez said.

In the NCR alone, 76 percent of MSMEs stopped or closed operations.

On the other hand, 22 percent of MSMEs in Metro Manila limited their operations and only two percent are fully operating.

Lopez said many MSMEs have also stopped operations in other parts of the country like CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Central Luzon, Central Visayas and the Davao region.

MSMEs are considered the country’s engine of growth as they account for bulk or 99.52 percent of all registered business establishments.

There are currently 998,342 MSMEs in the Philippines.

To support MSMEs, Lopez said the DTI is implementing programs for the sector.

Among the DTI’s programs for MSMEs is the P1 billion COVID-19 Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Enterprise Rehabilitation Fund (P3-ERF) which will allow micro enterprises to borrow P10,000 up to P200,000, and for small enterprises to have a higher loan amount that will not exceed P500,000.

DTI will start accepting applications for the P3-ERF after the enhanced community quarantine is lifted.

In addition, DTI has put in place the Livelihood Seeding Program - Negosyo sa Barangay which has P203 million funding to be used to provide a package of livelihood kits and business advisory assistance and services amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 to MSMEs affected by natural and human-induced calamities including health disasters.

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