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PIA Press Release

Zambo City hosts BIMP-EAGA 7th SMED cluster meeting

Zamboanga City (September 12) -- The city government of Zamboanga has rolled out a red carpet welcome for participants to the BIMP-EAGA 7th Small and Medium Enterprises Development Cluster meeting as Mayor Celso L. Lobregat described the activity as another opportunity for Zamboanga to showcase its potentials as a business and tourism hub.

The holding of the 2-day activity here, according to Lobregat, comes at a time when Zamboanga City is experiencing an "economic boom with the systematic rise of small and medium scale industry".

"Zamboanga, Asia's Latin City, is proud to play host to this event", Mayor Lobregat declared in his welcome message during the opening of the cluster meeting at the Garden Orchid Hotel yesterday morning.

The Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines, East Asean Growth Area 7th Small and Medium Enterprises Development Cluster Meeting is participated in by delegates from the BIMP region and is focused on the provision of "quick wins and benefits for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs)."

Lobregat said the enhancement of small and medium enterprises is a positive approach to sustainable development as SMEs contribute a great deal to the gross domestic product, create employment and livelihood opportunities and earn foreign currency through small-scale exports.

He cited recent studies which showed that SMEs contribute 40-60 percent of the total output or value added to the national economy. "However, because of the strong peso against the US dollar, SMEs have been greatly affected that the national government is now preparing a program to cushion the impact of a strong peso".

The mayor hoped that the BIMP-EAG 7th SMED cluster meeting will be able to address some of the concerns of the SMEs with the end result of making the SMEs stronger, more progressive and sustainable.

The delegations attending the cluster meeting come from Brunei headed by Effandi Bin Haji Salleh, Indonesia led by Martono Djohari; Malaysian by Irene Joibi and Philippine by Nazrullah Manzur.

Present during the opening program yesterday were Jacques Ferreira, principal Regional Cooperation Specialist of the Asian Development Bank; Mary Jean Roxas, Project Manager of the German Technical Cooperation and Susana Chew.

Lobregat also tendered a welcome dinner for the delegates and other guests last night and showcased the city's rich and colorful heritage through a cultural presentation. (CIO/PIA ZC) [top]

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