SINCE the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises comprise 99 percent of the businesses in the country and provide more than 65 percent of employment, Senator Cynthia A. Villar encourages the creation of more MSMEs.
Another lawmaker, Loren Legarda sought funding support for the MSMEs to the tune of P1 billion each.
Villar took note of the fact that the MSMEs account for about one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.
At present, Villar, chairman of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said 50 percent of the MSMEs are involved in the food and beverage businesses.
“Thus, we want to teach and guide farmers and farm owners to engage in business to tap the business opportunities. We should also extend support through capacity-building strategies and to make them more competent and competitive in it,” said Villar.
The strategy, Villar said, is to first educate and train the farmers by providing them with affordable or free access to agri-related training seminars and courses and by removing the barriers to their success and development.
Due to this, the senator cited the need to enhance their technical expertise, financial literacy, access to credit and to hasten the mechanization drive in the agricultural sector.
Speaking during the 65th anniversary of the Agri-Trade Fair in Zamboanga del Sur, Villar told her audience that she has always been an advocate of entrepreneurship, believing that it is the key to economic freedom of Filipinos.
Being an entrepreneur, Villar said she has been pushing for legislative measures to help small businessmen like the Magna Carta Micro-Enterprises and Republic Act 9178 or the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act when she was a congresswoman.
Villar was also co-author of the “Youth Entrepreneurship Law” or RA 10679, which was enacted into law in 2015.
“As we promote entrepreneurship and develop a new generation of entrepreneurs, we create MSMEs—a strong engine of growth in our country, related Villar.
“So I am happy to face the MSMEs here in Zamboanga del Sur which are participants of this agri-trade fair. I am encouraging you to continue joining trade fair, exhibits and expos. I believe this is a good preparation that will provide you with good opportunities to enhance your strategies in terms of sales promotion and marketing,” said the senator.
She emphasized that the agri-business is one of the long-term solutions in growing the agricultural sector and helping the Filipino farmers and fisherfolks.
“They have the potential to become entrepreneurs. They can join the ranks of MSMEs,” she added.
Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda increased funding support to expand and enhance the capabilities and competency of MSMEs by allocating one billion pesos each for the proposed 2018 budgets of the Pondo Para sa Pagbabago of the Small Business Corp. and the Shared Services Facilities program under the Department of Trade and Industry.
Legarda, principal sponsor and author of Republic Act No. 9501 or the Magna Carta for MSMEs and chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that she supports the President’s vision on further unlocking the country’s growth potential or patuloy na pag-unlad.
The senator said that setting aside one billion pesos for the Pondo Para sa Pagbabago would boost the continuous development of MSMEs, while the one billion pesos for the provision of SSF would enhance their productivity and competitiveness.
Of the one billion pesos for SSF, 200 million pesos will be for SUCs that implement livelihood initiatives; 100 million pesos will be for Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs); and 50 million pesos for the MSMEs affected by the war in Marawi.
“In order for us to sustain our progress and achieve genuine inclusive growth, we need to ensure that we encourage and support the development of our MSMEs, which represent the majority of our enterprises and comprise the largest bulk of our workforce in the country,” Legarda said.