LEGISLATORS said they are considering increasing the funding for the Trade department’s loan fund to aid in the recovery of small businesses affected by the lockdown from its current proposed level of P1.5 billion.

“Definitely we will clamor for a bigger budget for SB Corp. so we can jumpstart these MSMEs,” Bukidnon-3rd District Representative Manuel F. Zubiri said at the budget hearing of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday. He was referring to the Small Business Corp., which micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The DTI and its attached agencies’ proposed budget for 2021 is P20.162 billion, including the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s P13.5 billion.

The proposed budget for the DTI itself is P5.3 billion, with P1.5 billion alloted for SB Corp., Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said.

Demand for loans from SB Corp next year is expected to exceed its resources, he added.

Rep. Teodorico T. Haresco, Jr. appealed to the appropriations committee to at least triple the amount given to SB Corp., which he said could support a V-shaped recovery for the economy.

In addition, Antique Rep. Loren B. Legarda asked that the deleted budget for the shared service facility or the shared equipment program for micro and small businesses originally allocated for 2020 be added to the 2021 budget for the same program.

Mr. Lopez said the shared service facility budget for 2021 will be P500 million. — Jenina P. Ibañez