Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday reiterated his call to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to avail of the micro lending and financing programs that the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) and other institutions are offering amid the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble.
Lopez added said that the MSMES loan availment is improving, adding that the DTI expects more business owners affected by the lockdown to take advantage of the programs being offered by the agency.
“Actually, the loan take up has already improved, from about 200 applications a week at the start, to 1,000 a week. But we were expecting more applications than these numbers. We should continue with this micro-lending program because there are still many takers, still in need of working capital loans to save their operations and jobs,” Lopez told reporters.
He said that based on the records, the total loans approved for MSMEs under the Bayanihan COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program is at P3.38 billion, representing 25,920 borrowers.
As of March 2021, the total disbursement is now at P2.78 billion, covering 23,141 borrowers.
Under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” (BAYANIHAN 2), at least P10 billion has been allotted to the CARES program to help mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic on MSMEs.
Loans from the Bayanihan CARES program are interest-free, collateral-free, and are available to MSMEs, cooperatives, hospitals, and tourism businesses that have been in operation for at least one year.
Too afraid to avail
In a separate broadcast interview, Lopez admitted that some MSMEs are afraid of availing loans since there are still uncertainties due to the reimposition of the ECQ.
“The SB Corp is not the only institution that offers loans, other banks too. Pero yung iba kasing MSMEs natatakot kasi baka hindi na rin sila makabayad since yung mga businesses nila, kasama ulit sa mga ipinasara,” according to Lopez.
Affected by the latest ECQ are labor-intensive enterprises, such as restaurants, tourism, and services.