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MSMEs in Baguio get a P200-K economic boost

The municipal government has raised the loan amount under its economic stimulus program for micro, small, and medium businesses (MSMEs) to PHP200,000 and simplified the criteria to encourage current and new company owners to take advantage of the zero-interest financial assistance.

The Municipal Council has adopted the revised parameters of the 2020 Baguio Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy – Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP), according to Aileen Refuerzo, head of the city information office, “raising to PHP200,000 the loanable amount.”

When the stimulus program was first presented in 2020, she added, the maximum amount for micro-companies was PHP50,000 and PHP100,000 for small businesses.

SMEs may now borrow up to PHP200,000 for both micro and small businesses under the revised rules.

Starting-up company entrepreneurs are now eligible borrowers of the package, with a maximum loanable sum of PHP50,000.

Both the Small Business Corporation (SBC), an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that oversees the city’s stimulus package implementation, and the local government’s finance committee, according to Refuerzo, recommended that some terms of the guidelines be amended in order to achieve the goal of helping businesses rebound through loan assistance.

Only 213 applications totaling PHP8,7676,000 were accepted, leaving PHP31,751,120 of the allotted funds unused and idle.

The municipal government authorized an initial PHP100 million stimulus program for MSMEs affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic somewhere in mid-2020.

The sum was subsequently lowered to cover extra pandemic-related costs.

Meanwhile, the amended regulations removed a restriction that prevented companies from making use of the city’s economic stimulus package if they had previously taken advantage of comparable programs from other government agencies.

According to the new rules, loans costing less than PHP50,000 must be repaid within six to 12 months, while loans worth more must be repaid between six to 30 months.

Borrowers will also be granted a six-month grace period under the new regulations.

It also kept the 6% service fee paid to the borrower, the amount of which is determined by the authorized loan, which is calculated based on the borrower’s ability to pay.

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