Firms’ capacity at 50%; banks urged to lend


    Philippine enterprises have reached only 50 to 60 percent of their capacities prior to the onslaught of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) levels as of November.

    But 5 percent of firms have remained closed, according to Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

    This as Lopez encouraged Filipinos to prioritize locally made products in their purchases, in support of our local businesses, especially our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

    Lopez urged more commercial banks to accelerate their lending.

    In his speech at the Buyanihan Resellers’ Expo on December 5, Lopez said it would be hard to go back to pre-COVID levels but 50 to 60 percent is better than 20 percent.

    “We are slowly recovering,” said Lopez as he expressed DTI’s continued support to the BUYanihan program started by the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. that encourages consumers to buy local products to steer MSMEs to recovery.

    Lopez also advised retailers to continue to pivot by innovating and looking at opportunities in the virtual market place such as the resellers expo.

    A survey of 3,000 companies in April showed 38 percent closed. This dropped to 10 percent inJuly and now down 5 percent.

    Lopez surmised some of those which have closed before shifted their business models.

    Meanwhile, in a statement on December 4, Lopez said the country’s financial market could finance more investments or working capital to further support business and buoy employment.

    Lopez partly attributed to the liquid financial market the lower unemployment rate of 8.7 percent in October.

    He said the lower unemploment rate “is a good sign of recovery” although the country has not yet achieved its pre-COVID unemployment rate of 5 percent.

    “It would have been better of course if there were lesser restrictions and calamities that hit the country,” Lopez said.