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31K benefit from interest free DTI loan

Some 31,409 borrowers have benefitted from the zero-interest loan funded by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, or the Bayanihan 2, the Department of Trade and Industry reported.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship Wednesday, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said a total of P4.79 billion were already rolled out by the Small Business Corp. to micro, small and medium enterprises that were affected by the pandemic.

As of July 6, Lopez said nearly P4.57 billion worth of loans were approved for 30,345 MSMEs under the Bayanihan Cares or Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises.

Under the Cares for Travel or Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood, in partnership with the Department of Tourism, SB Corp. approved 436 applications with loans amounting to P188 million.

Lopez said loan uptake from the tourism industry remains low as many tourism establishments are reluctant to borrow if their sectors are still closed.

“They are hesitant to borrow because there is no assured business income for them now to pay the loan,” he added in Filipino.

This is despite the Cares program allowing a bigger loan amount for tourism-related MSMEs.

Average loan for the tourism sector is around P430,993, Lopez said.

Meanwhile, the trade chief is optimistic that the utilization of the budget for Cares for Travel loan will increase with the easing of restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine.

The program is also extended to displaced overseas Filipino workers under the Bayanihan Heroes program.

Lopez said 628 OFWs got their loan approvals amounting to P35.57 million.

The DTI, through its financing arm SB Corp., rolled out the Cares program in mid-2020 to help MSMEs to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

The Cares program offers zero-percent interest loans with a generous grace period.

MSMEs borrowing under the Cares loan may start their payment six months after receiving their loan.*PNA

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