There’s money for MSMEs but absorptive capacity is a problem

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/23 Dec)  — There’s money intended for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) but the capacity to absorb funds is a problem, with some of them unable to identify what they need to increase productivity, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regional office said.

Linda O. Boniao, officer in charge of the Department of Trade and Industry-10 regional office, said this is one of the reasons why only 65 percent of the P700 million available under DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) project nationwide was approved for release this year.
Boniao told Mindanews during the open forum for the launching of approved SSF projects in Bukidnon last week that there are more than enough funds for SMEs available but determination of need is “still vague” among some SMEs.

The SSF, according to the DTI, aims to improve the quality and productivity of microenterprises and SMEs. It focuses on addressing gaps in the value chain of priority industry clusters through the provision of processing machines or equipment for the common use of the MSMEs in a target of 609 poorest towns.

Boniao said the SSF is the government’s investment or counterpart in the business pursued by MSMEs.

She said Region 10 received one of the highest shares of the SSF budget in Mindanao and Visayas for 2013 with about P45.7 million. So far 74 of 77 proposed projects were approved with a total amount of P43.8 million.

According to figures released by DTI-Bukidnon Tuesday, of the P43.8 million, about P11.5 million or 26.32 percent was approved for Bukidnon. The cost is divided among 14 projects out of17 proposals. In Bukidnon, DTI reported a remaining balance of P1.9 million for this year.

Boniao said P50 million has been allocated for Bukidnon in 2014.

She said the DTI has not ventured into “assessing the needs of MSMEs” although DTI-Bukidnon cited some initiatives.

Roderico Bioco, president of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc, admitted that MSME’s absorptive capacity is a challenge and that identifying needs is a problem for these enterprises.

He stressed that MSMEs must have increased access to subsidy programs of the government but noted that some of the MSMEs may not even be aware of the program.

He said the chamber’s role is to help spread the word about the program and promote investments in Bukidnon. He added that the chamber is interested to promote even investments from local players like the MSMEs.

He said MSMEs in the countryside should have greater access of government subsidies not only from programs like DTI’s SSF but also for farmers through the Department of Agriculture such as the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and from the Department of Science and Technology. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)