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More businesses open – Lopez

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said more businesses have restarted their operations since the government implemented a gradual reopening of economic activities.

Speaking at the Association of Filipino Franchise Inc. (AFFI) online event yesterday, Lopez said DTI’s impact assessment survey showed that businesses that fully ceased their operations have gone down to 4.6 percent in early 2021 from a peak of 34.2 percent last year.

The DTI surveyed a total of 15,434 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in its latest survey from Jan. 28 to Feb. 10.

“Last year, we started at a peak of 34.2 percent of businesses that fully stopped their operation. It went down to around 10 percent in October (to) November, and then it went down to 5 percent. The latest survey released in March showed that it further declined to about 4.6 percent,” Lopez said.

He added that the government has been implementing its REBUILD Strategy—Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand– to ensure the country’s economic recovery.

Since mid-2020, DTI has been rolling out its zero-interest loans for MSMEs to help them restart their businesses and survive amid the pandemic.

Lopez said the Small Business (SB) Corp. has already released PHP2.5 billion worth of loans as of March 16 under the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program.

Aside from these programs, DTI has other initiatives to help those who were affected by the pandemic, such as digital upskilling through reboot package for MSMEs and capacity building interventions through BEST Bootcamp 3A training program for displaced overseas Filipino workers.

“Given the important role of MSMEs helping to rebuild our economy, DTI’s efforts are directed towards their swift recovery by enhancing their resilience to recover and rebuild,” Lopez said.*PNA

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