Solons bat to restore DTI budget for small, medium enterprises

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2022 03:57 PM

People pass by closed shops, some of which were affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in Binondo, Manila during Chinese New Year on February 1, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/FILE
People pass by closed shops, some of which were affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in Binondo, Manila during Chinese New Year on February 1, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/FILE


MANILA - The Department of Budget and Management should restore the budget cut in the Department of Trade and Industry's 2023 national expenditure meant for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), lawmakers said on Monday.

Only P726.79 million was allotted for the MSME Development Program, which was a substantial reduction from the 2022 allocation of P3.485 billion, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said during a deliberation on the Department of Trade and Industry's allocation for 2023. 

President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr earlier said among his administration's top priorities is the revival and recovery of small businesses that were hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Sabi priority pero merong kaltas na about P2.75 billion sa budget ng MSME Development Program. So nasaan ang sinasabi ng Presidente na kasama ang sa top priorities niya ang MSMES?" Brosas said.

(It was supposed to be a priority but it was reduced by P2.75 billion. So where's that claim that the MSMEs are top priority?) 

Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Toff de Venecia, who represented the agency as sponsor said the decrease was at P1.2 billion and that there was no fund allocated to some projects such as the Negosyo Serbisyo sa barangay LSD NSB which was created during the pandemic.

For example, the establishment of Negosyo Centers saw a P71.34 million decrease, and the OTOP (one town, one product) next generation program with a decrease of P4.7 million, among others, he said.

Meanwhile, De Venecia said the exports and investment programs saw P773 million in funding, slightly lower than 2022's P790 million. 

The Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department said the total available appropriations for DTI and its attached agencies will amount to P20.49 billion, lower by 15.8 percent compared with P24.33 billion in 2022. 

Some P2.26 billion or 12.7 percent of the total appropriations for programs will be used by the DTI-OSEC for the MSME Development Program to strengthen MSMEs’ linkages to local and international markets, the CPBRD said.

"However, this program has been allotted a budget that is 35.2 percent lower than in 2022, which might seem incongruous with the aim of supporting MSMEs towards recovery amid the pandemic." it said.

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