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Davao City – With economists forecasting another economic slump comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development chairman Rep. Teddy Casiño is calling for all-out support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a way of weathering the storm.

Casiño is in this city to preside over a congressional hearing on the proposed amendments to the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE) law.

Economists have earlier predicted bad times for the local and international economy. Among the international indicators are the continuing crisis in the Eurozone, the unstable state of the US economy, while locally the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is being threatened, the real estate boom will come to a halt due to low demand, the pre-need industry is once again shaky and oil prices and other commodities continue to soar.

According to Casiño, “For the economy and the business climate to improve in the country, one must start on the needs of our own local entrepreneurs. The following steps are definitely in order: 1. Reduce the cost of electricity and oil by initially removing or reducing the VAT and in the long term by bringing back regulation and government support; 2. Reduce the stringent requirements, fees and processes for putting up and sustaining a business or company; 3. Allow small firms to reap the benefits of historically low credit interest rates by rationalizing our credit systems; 4. Come up with a national strategy to consolidate micro and small firms in order to link them up with medium and large scale enterprises.”

The MSME sector is comprised of more than 750,000 firms, accounting for 99.6% of total establishments and contributing 61.2% of total employment. Most MSMEs are into the production of consumer goods, mostly food and retail services.

Casiño said the various proposals to amend the BMBE law aims to encourage small firms to register their businesses by increasing and rationalizing the incentives granted to micro business enterprises, as well as increase their access to credit.

Among the amendments is the exemption of micro business enterprises from national and local taxes and the creation of special credit facilities in order for cheap credit to be made available to the sector.#

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