Incoming DTI chief to focus on MSME development

Published June 12, 2022, 8:35 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Incoming Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual said he will lead the huge DTI bureaucracy like “n orchestra conductor, but a general leading from the front” as he will focus on three areas — promotion and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), attracting foreign investments, and further development of local industries.

In a radio interview, the former president of the University of the Philippines said that his top priority is the development MSMEs in the country by introducing to them the use of more technologies and giving them wider market access through digital technology.

To make MSMEs part of a larger value supply chain, Pascual vowed to connect these businesses with large enterprises where they can be suppliers and providers of services.

To attract foreign capital, the former professor at the Asian Institute of Management said he will make use of the various economic reform laws passed by the previous administration to entice investors to invest in the country.

On the development of domestic industries, Pascual said there is still enough room for growth among local industries. He cited the likes of coconuts, coffee and cacao with the most potential to grow into bigger industries.

In sum, he said, the three focus areas at DTI would translate into more jobs, businesses, and protection of consumers.

To protect consumers, Pascual cited two important issues — price and quality of products. He vowed to ensure that a price of a consumer good is a result of the interplay of supply and demand and not because of price manipulation.

He, however, took exception of the current prices which he said are dictated by international forces because of the continued rise in fuel prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But while costs of domestic products are rising, Pascual said he will make sure that no one takes advantage of the situation.

Pascual, who described himself as “super senior” further said he can “fight if needed” to push his agenda stressing it is a DTI mandate to protect consumers and to collaborate with manufacturers and consumer organizations and to find balance noting that manufacturers also need to earn profit to thrive and create jobs.

Pascual also vowed to be a good listener to consumers and business to discuss and find solution for a “win, win, win objective.”

With a huge DTI bureaucracy, including 15 regional offices and 30 offices around the world, Pascual said he will be like an “orchestra conductor, but I will be a general leading from the front.”