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Businesses find pandemic-related information inaccessible—ITC

/ 05:10 AM November 20, 2020

Nearly 60 percent of companies, mostly small businesses, found it difficult to access COVID-19-related information and benefits offered by the government earlier amid the quarantine, a report showed. Some of these firms may have already shut down permanently.

The International Trade Center (ITC) underscored the importance of access to such information and available assistance, saying that 10 percent of those who did not have such access had “predicted their own collapse because of the crisis,” the ITC report showed.

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ITC is a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. It released this month the report which was based on the findings of two surveys on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises—one done before the pandemic on 514 enterprises, while the other was done in the middle of it covering 454 companies.

“Transparency and information are vital for firms to benefit from government assistance programs. It is therefore worrisome that 58 [percent] of survey respondents in the Philippines found it difficult to access information and benefits from government COVID-19-related assistance packages,” the report read.

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Although nearly all enterprises were affected, those with strong connections to their buyers, suppliers and business support organizations were relatively less harmed since they had a “ready support network when the pandemic hit.”

This, the report said, suggested they were able to get the information and support they needed to cope with the challenges. Whether or not an enterprise is well-connected has a real impact on its survival during the pandemic.

“Ten percent of firms that said it was difficult to access information and benefits predicted their own collapse because of the crisis, compared to 6 [percent] of firms that said such access was ‘standard’ or ‘easy,” the report said.

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TAGS: International Trade Center (ITC), pandemic-related information
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