Solon pushes for microfinance programs for small businesses

MANILA A bill seeking to institutionalize microfinance programs for small businesses in the country has been filed in the Senate.

According to a statement on Wednesday, Senator Pia Cayetano filed the Tulong Puhunan Bill which aims to create a comprehensive development and assistance program for micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

MSEs comprise 99% of business enterprises and contribute more than 60% of jobs generated by all business enterprises. However, financial assistance is hard to come by, forcing many MSEs to turn to informal microlending schemes with prohibitive interest rates, Cayetano said.

Under the bill, a Tulong Puhunan Grant Programnational in scope but tailored for each administrative regionshall provide MSEs with assistance and necessary resources to help their businesses grow.

The program provides free technical and administrative support to MSEs under the top five priority business areas in their respective regions.

Its services will cover product development, skills and leadership training, packaging and design, quality control, market promotion, client or supplier matching, and financial literacy and planning.

It shall also provide grants every year to top-performing enterprises in each region, to be used solely for further business capitalization.

Every micro-sized enterprise that evolves into a small enterprise through the program shall be eligible for a one-time grant of PHP500,000.

A Tulong Puhunan Loan Program shall also be created to cater exclusively to MSEs in need of capital, whether or not they fall under the priority business areas of their regions.

These MSEs shall receive loans ranging from PHP10,000 to PHP250,000, with no required collateral, and with interest not higher than prevailing bank rates.

An amount of PHP18 billion shall be allocated for the initial year of implementation of the two programs, to be divided equitably among the regions. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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