Swift payout of P10-B fund for MSMEs urged

Published November 22, 2020, 3:18 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera has sought the expeditious disbursement of the P10- billion fund allocated under Bayanihan 2 to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

House Deputy Majority Leader, Bagong Henerasyon (BH) Party-List Rep. Bernadette Herrera (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The House leader said she is counting on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure that the MSMEs would benefit from the P10-billion COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) as provided for under Republic Act No. 11494 or the  Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, popularly known as Bayanihan 2, which is expected to lapse on  Dec. 10. 

“Congress allocated that amount precisely to help these struggling MSMEs so that they could continue operating and paying their employees,” Herrera said in a statement.

“Our economy is slowly opening up again and our MSMEs will play a big role in its revival, so we should provide them with the necessary assistance right away.”

Citing the DTI, she said out of the P10 billion allotted for the pro-MSMEs program, P8 billion has been downloaded to the Small Business Corp. (SBCorp).

Herrera said the CARES, which seeks to assist MSMEs and the tourism industry through the provision of low-interest loans,  should benefit around 100,000 enterprises and 200,000 workers.

She expressed concern that based on DTI data, only a total of 6,600 loans or equivalent to P1.2 billion have been approved, so far.

According to her,  around 26,000 CARES loan applications are still pending with the SBCorp. 

“The DTI should push SBCorp. to fast-track the processing of loans and release the money to qualified MSMEs ASAP,” Herrera said.

“The pandemic pushed many MSMEs into financial hardship, prompting them to either shut down permanently or lay off some workers just to stay afloat,” she lamented.