SMEs urged to aim for foreign market

ALABEL, Sarangani (MindaNews/27 July) –Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo urged small and medium enterprises on Wednesday to target the export market in a bid to increase their contribution to the country’s economy.

Addressing around 200 participants to the SOCCSKSARGEN SME Caravan at the municipal gymnasium here, Domingo stressed that SMEs remain a dominant force in the nation’s investment atmosphere.

SMEs comprise 99.6% of the businesses across the country, providing 60% of the total employment to our people, he said.

Domingo also pegged the economic contribution of SMEs at 35%.

“You should aim for the export market, and that can only be done by producing quality products with a good packaging and at a right pricing,” he said.

The Trade secretary attributed the failure of many SMEs to penetrate the foreign market to poor quality products, but added they should not lose hope since the government can provide them with assistance to improve their capabilities.

Several products of SMEs were displayed outside the gym for participation also to the Trade department’s “Diskwento (Discount) Caravan” project, which started in 2008.

Domingo said that President Benigno S. Aquino III ordered the agency to continue his predecessor’s “Diskwento Caravan” project because it helps consumers save money through the discounted price of goods.

Last year, the Trade department conducted eight “Diskwento Caravans,” but Domingo said they are eyeing to hold 100 of such project this year across the country.

To date, Domingo said they have conducted at least 60 “Diskwento Caravans”

By continuously doing this project, SMEs are given the chance for growth since their products are seen by the public, the secretary said.

Domingo said the Department of Trade and Industry and many other government agencies have programs that support the development of SMEs.

For the Trade department alone, Domingo noted they have three levels of interventions to help SMEs growth, which include packaging, financing and access to markets. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)