Exporters back stimulus plan to support investors, MSMEs

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The umbrella group of the country’s exporters is pushing for stimulus measures such as the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) bill, COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) and the proposed reduction of the corporate income tax (CIT) rate to 25 percent, to support investors and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the group is backing stimulus measures such as the P1.3-trillion ARISE, the P1.5-trillion CURES, and the proposed 25 percent CIT by July 2020 being deliberated at the Senate.

ARISE seeks to provide a P1.3-trillion stimulus package to help the economy bounce back from the pandemic. The funds would be used for an enhanced Build Build Build program with projects on health care, education and food security, as well as for  mass testing, wage subsidies, loans for MSMEs, and assistance to tourism, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture and fishery sectors.

CURES, meanwhile, aims to set aside a special fund for infrastructure projects to create jobs.

Under the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises, the aim is to instantly reduce the CIT rate to 25 percent as early as July from the current 30 percent.

While the government has already implemented several economic relief measures, Ortiz-Luis said the proposed stimulus measures would be a big help.

He said the government has already disbursed P30.2 billion worth of cash to programs such as the Small Business Wage Subsidy program, COVID-19 Adjustment Measures program for formal workers whose incomes were affected by the enhanced community quarantine, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers for informal workers, and the About Kamay ang Pagtulong cash grants to overseas Filipino workers, as well as provided a grace period for residential and commercial rents.

“While these measures are good, several issues remain. From our latest survey, majority or 41.86 percent of respondents said that no economic support measures from the government were effective. Therefore, we strongly welcome the P2.8-trillion stimulus package,” he said.

He said the survey covered 155 respondents.

“This is the first ever stimulus package this size and in fact developed by group of Congress, most brilliant economists, and trade and industry advocates. This is also the first ever assistance which government sees as an investment, rather than as expense. We believe that these are positive signals to existing and potential investors and much welcome relief for the MSMEs,” he said.

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