By Janina C. Lim, Reporter
THE Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.) is considering up to P1.7 billion in funds to lend to micro, small and medium entrepreneurs this year, more than double last year’s funding.
President and Chief Executive Officer Ma. Luna Cacanando said the funds will be channeled through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) Program.
The administrations’s flagship program, the P3 is established as an alternative source of financing to MSMEs and do away with the sector’s reliance on the informal 5-6 scheme.
According to the SB Corp.’s 2017 financial statement posted on its Web site, the P3 program released P840.61 million for MSMEs’ borrowing last year.
“We are keeping the momentum going, targeting the release of at least P1.7 billion in P3 loans by end 2018,” Ms. Cacanando said in a statement Monday.
The P1-billion annual fund allotted to the program is said to extend support to at least 40,000 micro enterprises serviced by more than 200 credit delivery partners across the country.
“For every P1 billion from the national government, each province will be allocated at least P10 million in P3 funds,” she said.
SB Corp. said it has 2,000 active SME borrowers nationwide and 154 partner financial institutions.
The agency’s shift of focus to lending is in line with Mr. Duterte’s recently signed Executive Order 58 which merges government-run guarantee funds with newly formed agency Philippine Guarantee Corp.
“We welcome this new development as a step towards more standardized policies and processes that will facilitate timely delivery of services to the public. It is very clear that the national government is trying to address the concerns of operational redundancies,” Ms. Cacanando said.
The agency added that it aims for MSMEs “to receive an increased share in the allocation of the country’s national resources and put into place actual measures to implement the laws developed and passed by Congress that are beneficial to the MSME sector.”