Villar: Stimulus fund should focus on SMEs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2009 09:37 AM | Updated as of Feb 03 2009 06:42 PM

To revive the economy in a time of crisis, the government should make use of its P330-billion stimulus package for programs that will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar said Tuesday.

Villar said the stimulus package should provide training and capital for Filipinos who wish to start their own small businesses, as well as projects which will sustain and encourage the growth of SMEs in the country.

"In our government, only a few are sincere in their efforts to help our SMEs. I can't quite see their support towards our small businesses. The SMEs have a big role in reviving our economy, so the government should make it a point to support our fellow Filipino traders," Villar told radio dzMM.

"They should assist the SMEs so the money will go straight to the people, enhancing their way of life. This is good because it will directly help Filipinos, especially the poor," he added.

As a result of massive layoffs, Villar said many Filipinos, including migrant workers, are resorting to SMEs since they find it hard to look for jobs.

"We should also support our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) who wish to start their own business. They need working capital. That is where the government should enter the picture. Let's help them since they're the ones who contributed a lot to our economy," he said.

Meanwhile, Villar did not see the need for the government to tap the funds of the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) to inject more money into the stimulus package since the said institutions already have their own programs to assist the economy in a time of crisis.

"I think the government has enough money, they don't have to make use of funds from these institutions. And besides, they (SSS, GSIS, Pag-ibig Fund) already have their own programs. The Pag-ibig fund should just continue extending housing loans. The SSS and the GSIS, on the other hand, should instead place investments in industries which will provide more jobs for Filipinos. The government doesn't need these companies, I believe it has a budget for the stimulus fund," he said.