DTI urges LGUs to cut business permit fees

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has called for the reduction of business permit fees by local government units (LGUs) to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and ensure they continue to thrive, especially in this pandemic period. 

Lopez said at the Task Group on Economic Recovery-National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Pre-Summit Dialogue for Worker to discuss the program recommendations leading for the Job Summit on May 1, Labor Day, that DTI will work for the lowering of business permit fees. 

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Citing the closure of thousands of MSMEs throughout the country because of the pandemic, Lopez noted the irony that LGU assessors are using 2019 sales as basis for the computation of fees for business permit renewals instead of 2020 sales. He pointed out that sales revenues before the pandemic were naturally higher. 

According to the DTI chief, this has been the common complaints MSMEs as they try to renew their business permits. 

Lopez pointed out that thousands of MSMEs have already closed shops and most are still partially opened and yet they are still asked to pay huge business permits by LGUs. 

“We will certainly work on the lowering of business permit fees,” he vowed adding the DTI will discuss with the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The DTI also supports the proposal of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for government grants for workers and establishments under the proposed Bayanihan 3. He cited suggestions to give subsidies to workers and immediate of P3,000 to P5,000 to micro enterprises as livelihood subsidies. 

“Anything that will help deal with hunger, we support that,” he added. 

In addition, the DTI has urged establishments to tap the collateral-free and easy financing offered by the SB Corp. Other government agencies such as the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land

Bank of the Philippines are also providing loans to enterprises while the Philguarantee extends guarantees to loans. 

He admitted that COVID-19 has greatly challenged the business community with uncertainty, risks on liquidity, productivity, and operational capacity. 

With that, he urged enterprises to re-examine their business models, adjust operations to keep the business alive and functioning. 

The speedy transition to digitalization has made it even more demanding as business processes needed to adapt to the obstacles of the pandemic. “These realities on the ground and more has led to the wait-and-see attitude of some,” he said.

Also equally challenged, he said, are the workers as they face the vulnerability of keeping their jobs or adjusting to newer functions, and even shifting to different skill-sets. “We will adjust, we will reform, we will re-structure to survive and win. Adjusting in the right way is important so we can reopen gradually and in a calibrated manner, with strict compliance to minimum public health protocol standards,” he said.