MSME lending at P535B; fewer firms still closed

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    Lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) amounts to P535 billion even as the number of companies that remain closed due to the pandemic has declined, according to Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

    Lopez told the Laging Handa public hearing yesterday this is the amount the lending community has set for MSMEs as reported to the Senate in last week’s budget hearing.

    Lopez said private banks, in coordination with the Philippine Guarantee Corp., have also been lending to MSMEs.

    Government financial institutions like the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and SB Corp. have been leading the way in extending loans to MSMEs.

    SB Corp. has a P10-billion fund for MSMEs under the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises but this kitty is also being made available to those affected by the typhoons.

    Based on the DTI’s latest survey, Lopez said just 5 percent of MSMEs are closed either temporarily or permanently due to the pandemic, which is a big reduction from 38 percent in May and June.

    Lopez added the continued restrictions exist in some areas like Metro Manila and nearby provinces which are under general community quarantine GCQ). Entertainment and tourism activities in these areas remain closed and will be allowed to reopen once they move to modified GCQ.