Optimism remains for MSMEs despite uncertainties in 2023
Amid high inflation that has been pestering the economy in the past year or so, stakeholders are anticipating a good year for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), albeit in varying degrees.
George Barcelon, president of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), says the group is “cautiously optimistic” for MSMEs, reflecting a contrasting perspective amid the neverending problem of skyrocketing consumer prices.
“We are cautiously optimistic. Cautious because there are still a lot of uncertainties that we are facing,” Barcelon tells the Inquirer.
The head of the largest business group in the country says the resumption of in-person classes and in-office work will have a huge impact on the country’s economic recovery.
“That would add more economic activities,” Barcelon says, adding there will be more opportunities for the sector that makes up the majority of businesses in the country.
The PCCI chief also notes tourism will likely continue its growth momentum that began last year after pandemic curbs were lifted.
“There are many MSMEs in the [tourism] sector. These are the ones we see outside Metro Manila who are mostly linked to the service or food sectors,” says Barcelon.
A big rebound should be hard-fought this year as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) continues to tame inflation, he notes.
MSMEs not only have to battle rising costs of materials; they also have to contend with more expensive loans as a result of BSP adjusting key policy rates.
Adding to businesses’ woes, employees would likely clamor for higher wages to cope with spiraling costs of their day-to-day needs, Barcelon adds.
Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion expresses optimism for MSMEs this year, drawing his conclusions from the economy’s performance last year.
“If we look at the country’s growth, 7.6 percent last year, that is an indication that MSME contributed to this growth rate,” Concepcion tells the Inquirer.
Concepcion, an MSME advocate, says these businesses play a crucial role in the economy. Aside from contributing 45 percent to the gross domestic product, MSMEs also provide employment to 85 percent of the country’s workforce.
“MSMEs will continue to do better. Tourism will definitely contribute to that, with revenge travel that is happening all over the world,” Concepcion says, adding that Filipinos would also have more spending power with remittances from abroad remaining strong.
Go Negosyo, the advocacy arm of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, has scheduled five “3M on Wheels” events this quarter for MSMEs. The “3M on Wheels” is a mentoring program that helped more than 3,700 MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the country in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.), the Department of Trade and Industry’s financing institution, has approved more than 5,200 loan applications for MSMEs under the Rise Up Multi-Purpose Loan since last year.
According to Ryan Lazo, spokesperson for SB Corp., an additional 3,200 applications are currently being processed by the financing institution. INQ