DTI program to give manufacturers extra push

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will spend up to P30 billion to help innovative manufacturers in the remaining years of the Duterte administration.

This initiative will be implemented under the SMART program, which stands for securing manufacturing revitalization and transformation.


In a statement, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the projects that would be supported under the program would have to be performance-based, targeted, time-bound and transparent.

These will include the eco-PUV (public utility vehicle) modernization program, an initiative that aims to replace outdated PUVs such as jeepneys, and an incentive program for the production of electric vehicles.


He said the SMART program would support the adoption of new technologies, new processes, products, services as well as the development of new business models.

“For this, we are proposing to spend P25 billion to 30 billion to support small, medium and even large companies for a period of three years,” he said.

The move comes as the government tries to revive the country’s manufacturing sector at a time when many manufacturers were worried over the fate of their tax breaks under the Duterte administration’s tax reform push.

Support will come in the form of soft loans, vouchers, tax incentives (under the new incentive regime being pushed by the administration), safeguard measures, fund support and reduction in trade barriers.

The DTI has set the criteria in picking the companies that would be supported by the SMART program, including those that would adopt industry 4.0 technologies and those that would promote industrial development in rural areas.Industry 4.0 is defined as a trend wherein more companies use artificial intelligence and the cloud in the manufacturing process.

Compared to previous industrial revolutions, industry 4.0 involves a greater degree of automation, allowing factories to do the work with less human intervention.

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