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PIA Press Release

Feature: Micro-financing a big help for SMEs

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (7 December) -- The Arroyo Administration has ordered government financing institutions to assist small-medium entrepreneurs to be able to expand their businesses through the provision and grants of small loans affordable to SMEs.

This as the government has emphasized the role of micro-finance as an effective tool and intervention in the fight against poverty.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye said the National Livelihood Support Fund has adopted this strategy to catalyze economic growth in the countrysides in line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's development agenda.

The Administration also stressed the need to forge ahead the development of SMEs citing the sector as a boost to renewed economic growth.

Secretary Bunye said the SMEs form the backbone of the country's economy as the sector comprises 99 percent of the total economic activities, employing millions of Filipinos.

To assist SMEs, the government has launched the SME Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth or SULONG program, releasing P21-billion for the first ten months of last year.

SULONG program and NLSF are major sources of micro-financing facility to thousands of end-beneficiaries, creating more jobs and employment opportunities.

In Southern Mindanao, about 53 SMEs loan applications totaling more than P50-million were approved to help the business community.

In the last three years alone, a record of P61-billion has been released for irrigation, the propagation of hybrid rice, increased tilapia programs and other income-generating projects.

Support infrastructure especially the roll-on roll-off highway covering Mindanao to Luzon has brought down cargo transport costs by 30 percent. That is one reason why our food prices have been stable all these years, Bunye said.

Other major socio-economic projects of the GMA Administration is rural electrification targeting to cover almost all of the country's barangays; housing; health services; health insurance; infrastructure; shelter; peace; and education. (PIA XI) [top]

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