BSP to draft gender-focused MSME policies

Published March 31, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Lee C. Chipongian

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is conducting a gender-focused demand-side survey on the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in aid of appropriate policies that will benefit and cater to women who run MSMEs.

The survey, to be released in the fourth quarter this year, intends to address the problem of limited data and “evidence” of women in the MSME sector. The lack of sufficient data and information is a hindrance for what BSP called targeted policies to “support their unique business development needs and requirement.”

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno (MB file)

 “The survey will pioneer national level reporting on the bottlenecks, challenges as well as opportunities for women’s businesses from a demand-side perspective. It will also look at the key characteristics of the MSMEs; access and use of financial products, including digital financial products; and the impact of COVID-19 on businesses,” said the BSP.

In the same statement, the BSP quoted Governor Benjamin E. Diokno emphasizing that Filipino women entrepreneurs dominate the country’s MSME sector.

He also said that when BSP support women’s access to finance, they enable the MSME sector to “achieve its full potential as driver of inclusive economic growth in the country.”

Diokno said the survey, to be known as the “MSME Demand-Side Survey” is an important initiative for a “deeper understanding” and for a more “evidence-based policymaking” of the sector. It aims to have “valuable market insights” for financial service providers.

The survey is part of the BSP and Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) program for gender equality in financial inclusion.

ADB senior finance specialist Kelly Hattel said the survey should help improve a more gender-focused access to credit and financial services, especially to the MSME sector. “This survey represents an important step towards informing the path forward to not only increase access to financial services but also to ensure they are best meeting the needs of MSMEs and women across sectors and regions of the Philippines,” she said.

The BSP-ADB project is supported by J.P. Morgan. In the meantime the Frankfurt School and Kadence will design and implement the survey.

In a separate statement, the government owned Credit Information Corp. (CIC) has recently discussed with the University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation Inc. Regulatory Support Program for National Development, on the issue of women MSME owners and how to help them avail of credit footprint for easier access to loans or financing.

Issues discussed include the lack formal proof of revenue including pay slip or tax identification number for women entrepreneurs, lack of collateral, and lack of proof of income and government-issued IDs.

The CIC said it will do more effort in addressing the information gap and to level the playing field between men and women in MSMEs.