MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has rolled out a P1-billion loan assistance for small businessmen, to help spur economic activity in the country’s poorest regions and wean Filipinos away from loan sharks.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told DZMM on Wednesday that an initial P118 million was released, with the full roll out by April. Here are some key facts of the loan program, according to Lopez:
WHO ARE ELIGIBLE?
Small entrepreneurs who need between P5,000 to P10,000 to keep their mini groceries, eateries and wet market stalls running can avail of the loan.
Lopez said the loan program will be available in the country’s 30 poorest areas after the initial launch in Occidental Mindoro, Sarangani and Tacloban City.
HOW MUCH CAN BE BORROWED?
An initial P5,000, which can increase in the future if the existing loan is paid. There is no collateral required, according to Lopez
HOW MUCH INTEREST WILL BE CHARGED?
Twenty-five percent on an annual basis or 2 percent per month. A P1,000 interest on a P5,000 loan can be spread out over one year at P83.33 per month.
Lopez said this is much lower than the 20-percent daily interest charged by loan sharks or “5-6” lenders.
WHERE CAN BUSINESSMEN APPLY?
Since the trade department is not authorized to give out loans, the money will be coursed through market vendor associations, cooperatives and microfinance institutions.
Without the need to go to a bank, business owners can avail of the loans easily, Lopez said.