Campaign promise of P1 billion for SMEs awaited

Posted on June 01, 2016

DAVAO CITY -- The Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) is banking on President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte’s campaign promise of allocating P1 billion for the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to promote inclusive growth under his administration.

“He was the only [candidate for] president who committed P1 billion to the SMEs,” said PFA Chairman Emeritus Samson Lim in an interview on the sidelines of the Franchise Mindanao Expo held in the city last week.

Mr. Lim noted that most franchisees are small businesses but they create millions of jobs in the country.

“The franchise business is one sector that empower the entrepreneur to earn and provide jobs at the same time,” he said.

Mr. Duterte and his running mate, Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, promised during their campaign sorties around the country to provide seed money of P1 billion as a loan fund for SMEs if they win the elections.

Mr. Lim said the franchising sector is also hopeful that Mr. Duterte will be able to provide a more competitive business environment not only through peace and order but also through the introduction of government policies that will make starting a business much easier.

“I think peace and order is what we are most happy with... If Duterte can stop red tape and make things faster for business, then expect the economy to grow better and faster,” he said.

PFA Chairman and Goldilocks Vice-President Franklin L. Go, meanwhile, said when the group entered the Davao and Mindanao market several years ago, they got an assurance from Mr. Duterte of the city’s safety. Goldilocks now has 52 stores in Mindanao, 17 of which are in Davao City.

Mr. Go said the group brought the Franchise Expo in Davao City to look for start-ups and small entrepreneurs who want to expand their businesses but who do not have the capital and logistics.

“If we can help these small entrepreneurs who pay more taxes, then we can help create more jobs and pave the way for inclusive growth,” he said.

PFA data shows there are around 1,500 franchised businesses nationwide with a combined sales of $13 billion. Up to 68% of these businesses are local companies while the rest are foreign firms.

Mr. Go said the Philippine economy’s growth leads the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and keeping this up would require strengthening the small players. -- Carmencita A. Carillo