ACPC offers interest-free loans for small businesses
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - August 1, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has announced the availability of interest-free loans for small time business, including those venturing into agri-fishery activities.

Noel Clarence Ducusin, chief of the Program Development Division at ACPC this facility is designed to scale up MSMEs businesses, or resume their operations amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and quarantine measures.

In a statement, Ducusin said the Agri-Negosyo Loan Program (ANYO) targets returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as well as partnerships, associations or cooperatives belonging to MSEs which are engaged in agriculture and fisheries.

Ducusin said micro firms may borrow up to P300,000, while small enterprises can borrow P300,000 to P15 million payable up to five years.

“In the agricultural sector, we have businesses that are rather large and would require facilities and machineries that are expensive,” he said during a recently concluded e-forum on 2020 National MSME Resilience.

According to Ducusin small enterprises would be able to get a substantial loan if a project can benefit small farmers or shareholders.

However, loans should not be intended to procure real estate assets like land.

“For instance, a processing company would apply for a loan and would have a marketing contract with smallholder rice producers and would supply this processed rice to the Kadiwa outlets or centers of the Department of Agriculture then, it can be considered. So we are clear that if the loan can benefit more smallholders, then it has a chance for approval but we are very careful about providing loans to the negosyante (businessmen), the traders who will only solely benefit on what can be derived from the business undertaking,” he explained.

The ANYO loan facility is implemented through government and non-government financial institutions (GFIs), cooperative banks, large and small cooperatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), market financial institutions, and some associations.

Meanwhile, the Small Business Corporation is in talks with GFIs for expansion of Covid- 19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program designed to help pandemic- affected MSEs to reopen their businesses.

SB Corp. Vice President for Planning and Advocacy Frank Lloyd Gonzaga said the P1-billion funds for loans under the program is not enough as these can only lend about P100,000 to 10,000 enterprises.

He said they have already received 23,477 loan applications.

According to Gonzaga, qualified borrowers are those 100-percent Filipino owned MSEs, one year in operation prior to March 15, and with asset size of not more than P15 million.

Gonzaga clarified that this is an interest-free loan and collateral is not required for the program.

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