DTI dangles incentives to MSMEs going digital

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) plans to grant incentives to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) shifting from analog to digital as it notes the low adoption of this segment to technology.

    DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba told the ABAC Philippines Digital Innovation Forum yesterday companies that adopt to Industry.40 and new business model initiatives through product, service and process upgrades can enjoy fiscal incentives such as vouchers, tariff cuts, grants, subsidies and soft loans as well as non fiscal support including intellectual property and standards protection.

    Aldaba said qualified are those which upgrade their value chain, adopt industrial technologies in manufacturing, commercialize research and development. and industrialize rural areas

    A recent survey on Technology Utilization of Manufacturing Companies conducted by the agency showed 40 percent of firm respondents are still in Level 1 of the so-called Smart Manufacturing Index where they still do things does thing manually with little spreadsheet management while 38 percent are still in level 2 or standalone database management system using legacy applications.

    Not surprisingly micro and small enterprises have the biggest proportion of low adoption.

    “The DTI has been intensifying our efforts to help our MSMEs shift to digital platforms and electronic commerce through the Inclusive Innovation Industrial strategy which focuses on embracing Industry 4.0.

    Through the use and adoption of new technologies we can strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability and resilience of our industries. Companies, need to innovate, to integrate into digital economy. We do not want the adoption of new technologies to widen the digital divide in the country,” Aldaba added.

    At the forum, Philippine business leaders have joined their counterparts in economies forming the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in advocating for closer coordination between the public and private sectors as well as a digital approach toward economic recovery and resilience amid the current new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

    “While the pandemic has put many industries to a halt and caused thousands to lose their jobs, it has also accelerated digital innovation among businesses and communities. The same digital technology will enable us to harness our human capital for the new future-of-work. And the same digital technology that will provide new products and services, that supports financial inclusion and growth of key sectors, including the SMEs,” said Tomas Alcantara, Philippine representative to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in his address.

    Sabin Aboitiz, ABAC member and Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer, cited the need for private sector and government need to work together not just to live, “but to sustainably thrive, under a new normal,” he said.

    “We know that no country in the world, regardless of socio-economic status, can claim that they were well-prepared to handle COVID-19. This further highlights the need to maximize regional cooperation to share resources. Countries need to come together to address the gaps in both resources and strategy on the road to ‘building back better’,” Aboitiz also emphasized digital transformation is essential to keeping companies afloat during the pandemic. (I.Isip)