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PH efforts for MSMEs on Covid-19

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AS coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) continues to spread and affecting more businesses, the government and the private sector have been ramping up initiatives to help affected micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) cope with the operational stress generated by the disease.

Distressed MSME-exporters in the country are seeking financial assistance to temper their losses from the Covid-19 crisis, according to an online survey on the impact of Covid-19 on business operations sent to Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) members.

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Majority of 36 respondents representing 13 sectors perceive the impact of the crisis on market demand as the “most serious problem”, followed by logistics and overall sustainability.

With this, concerned government agencies are undertaking various efforts to assist affected businesses, including providing financing facilities, loans moratorium, financial assistance for workers, ensuring unhampered movement of cargo, and launching of Covid-19 hotlines.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Small Business Corporation will make available to micro and small enterprises affected by the month-long enhanced community quarantine in Luzon a P1-billion Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing facility under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (named Covid19 P3-ERF) after the quarantine is lifted.

A document released by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) also indicated that the SB Corporation is also providing a one-month moratorium on MSME loans from March 16 to April 14, 2020.

Covered are MSME borrowers and partner financial institutions (PFIs) who are located in areas declared under community quarantine.

After April 14, borrowers may request to pay only the interest portion of the monthly payment until October 2020.

The Regional Program Management Office of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) has considered requests for deferment of repayment of financial assistance to the MSMEs up to two months in March to April without interest penalty.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is also providing workers whose work faces or suffers interruption during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon with P5,000 financial aid.

Labor Advisory No. 9 provides for alternative work arrangements which may be considered by employers other than the traditional or standard work hours, workdays, and workweek. These include reduction of work hours and/or workdays, rotation of workers, and forced leave.

Further, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-08 guaranteeing the unhampered movement of all cargoes and transit of personnel of business establishments allowed to operate during the quarantine period.

While the MC ensures the smooth and unimpeded movement of all cargoes in the Luzon area, when stopped at any checkpoint for random inspection, the cargo manifest or delivery receipt indicating the destination, nature, and quantity of the loaded goods/cargoes must be presented to avoid delays.

On the part of the private sector, the PHILEXPORT, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) recommended that the Department of Finance (DOF), through the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), allow tax payments after April 15th and waive applicable penalties and interest charges for delayed tax remittances.

Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 7-2020 dated March 30 extends the deadline for filing and payment of the annual income tax returns (ITRs) for calendar year 2019 from April 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020.

The business groups also called on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the DOF to encourage banks to declare a moratorium on loan amortizations falling due within six months from the occurrence of Covid-19 for business, consumer, home and loans to large enterprises.

The DOF has issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of a provision in Republic Act (RA) No. 11469, otherwise known as “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, directing all lenders to grant a 30-day grace period or extension for the payment of all loans, including credit card payments and pawnshop loans, falling due within the enhanced community quarantine period without slapping interest, or any additional charges and fees on the borrowers. |-BNN / PhilExport News & Features

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