Financial execs 'strongly urge' passage of GUIDE bill to aid small businesses


Posted at Feb 25 2021 05:18 PM

MANILA— A group composed of the country’s top financial executives is urging Congress to pass a bill that seeks to provide financial assistance to distressed micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

"We at FINEX strongly urge the passage of the GUIDE bill," Francisco Ed Lim, president of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, said in a statement on Thursday.

Lim said that while they laud Congress for forwarding the CREATE bill and enacting FIST bill into law, the GUIDE or Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery bill is also needed to help shore up the economy from the impact of COVID-19.

"We see the need for other measures that will further help businesses to recover from the pandemic and navigate through challenges that lie ahead. One such measure is the GUIDE [bill] that has been pending in Congress," he said.

The GUIDE bill seeks to provide funding for MSMEs through infusion of fresh capital to government banks such as Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines.

It also seeks to grant incentives and exemption privileges in the lending and investing activities of Landbank, DBP and Philippine Guarantee Corp.

Lim said that the GUIDE bill is "strategically important" in helping industries such as agriculture supply chain, food, manufacturing, low-cost and socialized housing, hospitality and education.

Local and foreign businesses and investors alike are waiting for such economic reforms that can support the acceleration of the country's economy as it still reels from the impact of the pandemic.

The Philippines saw its worst contraction in 2020, shrinking 9.5 percent on the back of weak economic activity under a series of lockdown restrictions.