Majority of firms still operating below capacity

Published February 4, 2021, 5:31 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

42% laid off workers

Majority or 90.9 percent of companies are just operating at certain capacity while 42.4 percent have laid off employees either temporarily or permanently, according to a survey conducted by the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport).

The PhilExport Survey on the Status of firms for 2021 released today showed that of the 90.9 percent that are operating, only 8 firms are fully or 100 percent operations, while the rest are operating at 50 to 90 percent capacity. Survey respondents are from the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) covering 11 different sectors: associate (shipping lines, trade associations, brokers/forwarders); chemicals; electronics; food; furniture; garments; holiday decors, gifts and premiums; housewares; metals; textiles; and tourism.

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Majority or 87.9 percent of survey respondents reported that the current situation of their respective firms is similar to last year while 12.1 percent answered that their current situation is better than last year.

Interestingly, the survey also showed that 42.4 percent of firms laid off employees either temporarily or permanently and small majority of 57.6 percent reported no lay-off.

The number one reason for the slowdown or shutdown of operations was difficulty in coordinating with suppliers at 69.7 percent following by difficulty in transportation at 48.5 percent, insufficient manpower at 30.3 percent, lack of access to financing at 27.3 percent, not allowed to operate at 21.2 percent, and absence of business continuity plans at 9.1 percent.

Majority (81.8%) of firms said that strictly following the minimum public health protocols have mitigated the impacts of COVID-19 in their operations. This is followed by work-from-home arrangements and skeletal workforce, both garnering 48.5 percent. Implementing reduced working hours followed at 39.4 percent and organized shuttle services at 33.3 percent.

Notably, PhilExport said that only 58.1 percent of survey respondents reported that they implemented business continuity plants to continue operations. But some businesses were able to cope by utilizing technologies to benefit from the trends brought by the upcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 Based on the survey, PhilExport concluded that MSMEs are gradually coping up despite the halts and shutdowns caused by the pandemic since its outbreak last year.

PhilExport also noted that the survey revealed that businesses are very keen in observing government-mandated public health protocols, which not only help in the continuity of operating but in ensuring industrial health and safety in the workplaces, as well.