Senate bill offers interest-free loans and emergency fund for MSMEs

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A bill tabled in the Senate aims to provide additional support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including interest-free loans from public banks and an emergency disaster recovery fund.

Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, author of Senate Bill 138 or the MSME Stimulus Act, said the proposed law aims to stimulate and popularize local products in national and international markets.

Thea unique sense of pride that something so delicious could be cooked in your hometown by your people and shared across the country and around the world,the senator said in a mixture of English and Filipino in a statement on Monday.

The measure will create the MSME Growth Stimulation Program to extend assistance, strengthen and facilitate the growth and development of MSMEs in order to create and maintain jobs in all regions.

Under the bill, interest-free loan windows will be opened through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

An MSME Stimulus Emergency Fund will also be maintained and used to assist MSMEs affected by disasters, public health emergencies, armed conflicts and other disruptions.

The Ministry of Finance will also be mandated to provide wage subsidies to disaster-affected MSMEs.

The bill will help MSMEs to become resilient and disaster proof,said the senator.

Most of our MSMEs suffered massive losses during the (coronavirus) pandemic, leading to closure and layoff of employees,said Mr. Villanueva.

Now that the economy is opening up, our MSMEs need government aid to keep local goods and services afloat and help MSMEs retain their employees,he added.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry shows that MSMEs make up 99.5% of all businesses in the country, generating 62.66% of the countrys employment in 2020. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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