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Business

Japan funds P110 million for MSME recovery

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Japanese government is providing $2.2 million (P110.4 million) in assistance to help the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the pandemic.

The government of Japan and the International Labor Organization of the United Nations recently started a project that aims to make MSME workplaces safer and more productive to ensure that businesses can reopen and operate safely without returning to stricter lockdown.

The one-year project will cover provinces and non-metropolitan regions in the country where pandemic risks remain high and where support is still limited.

It aims to contribute in preventing and mitigating the impact of COVID-19, and engage national MSMEs as well as the informal sector.

The country has 1.4 million registered MSMEs, employing seven out of every 10 workers and contributing to 40 percent of gross domestic product.

MSMEs were among the hardest hit sectors since the pandemic started last year, with many of them already stopping operations. Some even had to turn to informal businesses and employment to cope with the impact of the crisis.

“Urgent measures are critical to support them in dealing with the impact of COVID-19, and to build back better and safer. We need to also help people access safe and decent jobs in their own town,” ILO Country Office for the Philippines director Khalid Hassan said.

Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa said MSMEs are crucial to economic recovery.

“Occupational safety and health should be top priority to sustain jobs and businesses in the new normal environment. This includes ensuring a safe return to work, digitized operations, and safer and more productive workplaces,” he said.

Further, the project will support efforts of the government, workers and employers under the National Employment Recovery Strategy and the Decent Work Country Program of the Philippines.

It will be implemented in collaboration with the departments of Labor and Employment, Information and Communications Technology, Trade and Industry, and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

MSME

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