DTI secures additional P1 billion for MSME assistance
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has secured P1 billion from government financial institutions Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to be used to bolster its lending program for micro and small enterprises struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters yesterday the DTI would be getting a combined P1 billion from Landbank and DBP as additional funding for the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises or CARES program.

“We are just completing documentation from SB (Small Business) Corp. side. Maybe (within) one week (it will be available). But we continue to approve applications,” he said.

Under the CARES program, loans are pegged at zero interest rate, but there is a service fee of six percent for 18-month term loans and eight percent for 30-month term loans.

Micro or small enterprises that have been operating for at least one year prior to March 16 can avail of loans under the CARES program.

Micro enterprises with asset size not more than P3 million can tap P10,000 to P200,000 worth of loans, while small enterprises with total assets not higher than P15 million can borrow up to P500,000.

Earlier, Lopez said the DTI would need an additional P5 billion for the CARES program being administered by SB Corp. to help micro and small enterprises continue operations and recover amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The DTI initially earmarked P1 billion for the CARES program.

As loan requests have reached over P3 billion, SB Corp. had to temporarily suspend accepting applications for the program.

Lopez has said the program would be open for applications again after the DTI obtains additional funds.

Apart from the P1 billion from Landbank and DBP, he said the DTI is transferring funds from SB Corp.’s other lending program Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso, to CARES.

He said DTI is also hopeful it could get more funds for the CARES program from the government’s stimulus package and from the new budget next year.

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