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Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion believes that organized labor’s suggestion to provide MSMEs a subsidy loan is a step in the right direction. “I agree that helping MSMEs will result in more inclusive, more sustainable growth for the economy and will benefit more workers in the long run,” said Concepcion.
Organized labor earlier pushed for Php100 billion in subsidized loans for MSMEs to augment the wage increase granted by different Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards for minimum wage earners.
Concepcion explained that micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are closely intertwined with job generation in the Philippines. “If we are to provide more jobs to more Filipinos, we have to grow the sector that accounts for more than half of the employment in the country,” he said. The Department of Trade and Industry estimates that 62.6 percent of jobs in the country are because of MSMEs, with micro-enterprises accounting for the largest share.
Concepcion said that while wage increases are welcome, generating jobs will bring more inclusive and sustainable growth. The incoming administration, he said, must protect MSMEs as they will be key to job creation, and added that it would be difficult for micro enterprises to manage the additional costs of wage increases. “These micro enterprises live hand-to-mouth right now, and are still repaying their loans,” he said.
Larger businesses, meanwhile, are still dealing with higher cost of commodities. Concepcion said that increased economic activity will encourage large companies to step up their production, driving demand for workers and pulling up wages to entice them into their workforce.
During the Laging Handa public briefing last May 23, Concepcion reiterated that the country’s economic health goes hand-in-hand with efforts to boost vaccinations and maintain lower alert levels. “It is important that our economic frontliners remain protected, even as our infections are now muted,” he said. As of March 2022, the private sector employs nearly half of the 47 million Filipinos who are currently in the labor force.
Concepcion added that with the elections now over, local government officials can resume focusing on vaccinations. A new administration, he said, always brings renewed confidence among investors, as he expressed hope that presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will continue the programs started by President Rodrigo Duterte. “Our economy is doing very well but we need to generate more jobs,” he said.
MSMEs were severely affected by mobility restrictions during the pandemic, and continued to suffer from higher commodity prices and supply chain disruptions when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out. Larger corporations, meanwhile, stand to become adversely affected by decreased productivity due to absenteeism and prolonged symptoms brought on by long Covid.
“That is why we have been pushing for vaccinations and boosters. It is the best way to address these disruptions in our economy,” said Concepcion.
Concepcion’s non-profit Go Negosyo promotes entrepreneurship among Filipinos by improving access to money (capital), markets and mentorship. During the pandemic, Go Negosyo shifted mentorship programs online and became an active participant in pandemic response, initially procuring testing kits, and later on, vaccinations and boosters