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PIA Press Release

Siquijor approves P550T for provincial SMEDC

by Rizalie A Calibo

Siquijor (24 April) -- The government is moving to address concerns raised by local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in a recent survey released by the United Parcel Service (UPS) Asia Business Monitor, Presidential Management Staff Director General and Oversight Official for MSMEs Cerge Remonde earlier said.

In his weekly press briefing, Remonde said the survey highlighted concerns of some 100 respondents on: government support (for MSMEs), access to funds and capital, transportation and infrastructure and supply chain efficiency.

Remonde explained that long before the survey was conducted, the government had already thrown its full support for the establishment and propagation of MSMEs and had even implemented a host of initiatives ranging from direct assistance to indirect interventions.

"The assistance is mainly found in the Medium Term SME Development Plan," Remonde said, adding, "the forms of direct assistance may be classified into the following: credit access and guarantees, product development and technology intervention, training and marketing support, advocacy," among others.

"The plan is designed to help enterprises graduate to the next level of business, as well as upgrade productivity and value-added capabilities," he said.

Remonde added that under the Small and Medium Enterprises Development (SMED) Council, the government provided P91.35 billion worth of loans to entrepreneurs from 2004 to 2006 through the SME Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth (SULONG).

"For 2007, the government will provide another P34 billion for loans to MSMEs through the SULONG," Remonde said.

According to him, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had directed all government agencies and instrumentalities to simplify rules and regulations, reduce reportorial requirements, and eliminate fees and charges on export clearances, permits and other documentation requirements to cut red tape and to facilitate ease in doing business and encourage more investments in the country.

Aside from this, Remonde said that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is encouraging the local banking sector to increase the SME loans in their loan portfolios.

He added that the BSP has lowered its reserve requirements for thrift and rural banks, relaxed rules to lower capital requirements to operate foreign currency deposit units (FCDUs) and provided liquidity for banks to refinance microfinance loans to further encourage banks to help MSMEs.

"Other forms of government assistance include marketing support in trade fairs, local and international, technology upgrades, product development and personnel training," Remonde said.

He also said that the government is concocting a new project to further ease the business transaction processes and bring about faster business registration of MSMEs.

He pointed out that the internet-based system, dubbed the Philippine Business Registry System, "harmonizes all business registration processes performed by different national government agencies and local government units, leading to a seamless transactional environment for business registration."

On the indirect intervention side, Remonde said the 2.44-million active MSME clients stand to benefit from the government's Comprehensive Integrated Infrastructure Program which aims to construct, rehabilitate and expand roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railway systems that will enable faster, cheaper and more efficient exchange of goods and services.

"MSMEs should thrive and prosper under this modern transport system," Remonde said.

In Siquijor, the Provincial government, in an effort to assist and strengthen SMEs here, has approved a P550-thousand budget out of its 20% development fund for the operation of the Provincial Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council (PSMEDC).

Provincial SMEDC projects and activities include trainings, seminars and local study mission amounting to P390 thousand which are broken down as follows: Trainor's training on financial Management, P50T; Training on Silvi Cultural Treatment, P30T; Skills Training for OTOP Lazi, P50T, Upgrading of the Packaging and Product shelf-life of the processed food, P35T; Upgrading skills Training on Coco Craft Making, P35; Orientation on the Mainstreaming of the Informal Sector, P20T; Capability Building Training for OCOV and BSRP Stakeholders, P20T; and Local Study Mission, P100,000.

Market Promotion (regional fair and selling mission), Business Information (Provision of Business/SME Page in the Local newspaper and client profiling) and administrative expenses totals some P160T.

The Siquijor Provincial SMED Council is one of the active SMED Councils in the country. Every year, it is allocated a budget from the Provincial Government for its programs and projects in production, marketing, product development and human resource development among others.

The Council also supports the One-Town, One-Product (OTOP) program, a priority program of President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo that promotes entrepreneurship and creates more jobs. (PIA) [top]

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