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Vibrant MSME sector boosts economy

The number of registered firms in the country jumped in May, underscoring the vibrant domestic economy

The vibrant micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector is boosting the domestic economy as the number of registered businesses jumped to 1.42 million in May from 1.39 million in December 2018 after 30,000 new businesses registered in the span of five months, the MSME Development (MSMED) Council said.

Trade and Industry Secretary and MSMED Council chairman Ramon Lopez said this developed as the agency gears toward programs for micro, small and medium enterprises that he also said should be felt at the barangay-level.

The MSMED Council is composed of public and private sector representatives tasked to advance the interests of local MSMEs.

“Even if the DTI’s budget is only up to the provincial level, we will find ways for our programs to reach MSMEs at the grassroots,” Lopez said.

Entrepreneurs can still register as single proprietorships with the DTI even after the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed the registration of one-person corporations, the trade agency said. Its business registration requirements are much simpler, he quickly added.

Registered micro enterprises whose total assets, excluding land, amount to not more than P3 million are also covered by incentives under the Barangay Micro Business Enterprise law.

The benefits include income tax exemption from income arising from the enterprise operations, exemption from the coverage of the minimum wage law (provided that the BMBE employees will still receive social security and health care benefits as other employees).

BMBE beneficiaries also benefit from a special credit window for BMBE financing in financial institutions, various trainings in technology, transfer, production and management as well as marketing assistance.

Additionally, to have a firmer grasp of where microfinancing is needed, the DTI said that it is looking to synchronize MSME statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority and the National Economic Development Authority and count the MSME in the informal sector, or those who have yet to acquire business permits.

The DTI said the statistics will be valuable for the agency as well as for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and other government financial institutions.

In 2018, the DTI said MSMEs accounted for 99.6 percent of established businesses in the country and employ over 60 percent of the total workforce.

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