The government, particularly the Department of Trade and Industry, has been urged to “substantially deregulate” the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and let this sector grow faster to be able to contribute to the economy and employment generation.
Substantial deregulation of the MSMEs was highlighted by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) during a meeting with Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual, who was guest speaker at the first face to face MAP General Membership Meeting on Thursday, July 14.
“Let them grow for heaven's sake! Let them grow as fast as they can, instead of harassing them and regulating them even before they can start,” said MAP President Rogelio Singson, who presented the Eight MAP Policy Recommendations for Economic Dynamism under the Marcos Administration to his predecessor. The MAP policy recommendations include: education crisis, quality health care, agriculture and agribusiness sector, trade and industry, infrastructure adequacy, labor market and employment, fiscal policies, justice and the rule of law.
Singson explained that by freeing up the MSMEs from regulations, this sector will grow faster and contribute to the growth of the economy and create more jobs. More than 99 percent of the country’s businesses are MSMEs and they contribute over 63 percent of total employment in the country.
“Let them contribute to the economy and employment generation especially in the countryside,” he stressed noting that government should not spend scarce resources trying to regulate MSMEs.
To further support MSMEs, MAP has proposed to “freeze all field tax audits” of MSMEs unless an apparent crime is being committed to avoid friction costs, and source of harassment.
Singson likewise asked big business and government institutions to support MSMEs in the procurement of supplies and materials and ensure timely payment. “Please pay them within 30 days or shorter, but don't pay them after 120 days to keep them away from predatory lenders. Let's promote micro and small enterprises and make room for them in purchases and supply requirements, both in government at the national and local levels and at the private sector,” he added.
In addition, Singson said that captains of industries and business leaders agree that big business cannot continue on using the traditional shareholders interests and financial bottom line as their measure of success.
Rather, the measure of success is how the enterprise contributes for the wider shareholders -- to the general public, and to its contributions to nation building. In particular, the measure of success should mean how an enterprise contributes to the economy, to social justice, addressing the bottom 40 percent of poor, good governance and the protection of the environment and the country.
For his part, Pascual vowed to help MSMEs use standard software to become more efficient in their operations. “DTI will promote digitalization and digital transformation programs for MSMEs in collaboration with the Department of ICT,” he said.
In partnership with DICT, the DTI is going to offer an e-commerce platform for to all MSMEs where a small enterprise can set up an online storefront, get orders and receive payment digitally. By using e-commerce platforms, he said, MSMEs can access bigger markets for their products.
Pascual said that requirements may only be asked during the initial registration of a business, but reportorial requirements can be done away after a couple of years.