September 10, 2021

The Department of Trade and Industry is requesting a budget of P23.7 B for 2022

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is seeking approval from legislators for its proposed budget of PHP23.7 billion under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022.

Secretary Ramon Lopez said at the House Committee on Appropriations budget hearing on Friday that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) receives a significant portion of the budget, amounting to PHP13.64 billion.

The Office of the Secretary (OSEC) alone anticipates a budget of PHP6.6 billion for the next fiscal year.

Lopez said that PHP5.25 billion, or almost 80% of the OSEC budget for the next fiscal year, would be used to finance initiatives aimed at increasing exports and investments, industry development, helping micro, small, and medium businesses (MSMEs), and improving consumer welfare.

From the DTI’s budget for 2021, the funding for these programs increased by 16 percent, or PHP742 million.

The Board of Investments, a DTI-affiliated investment promotion agency (IPA), expects to receive PHP399.7 million next year.

Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, Lopez, who is also the chairman of the BOI, said that the BOI has been approving record-high investment applications in the last two years.

Investment commitments with the BOI exceeded PHP1 trillion in 2019 and 2020.

According to the DTI head, these pledges are anticipated to result in the creation of 766,224 employment for Filipinos.

Small Business (SB) Corp., the DTI’s finance arm, has requested PHP1.5 billion for the next fiscal year to continue rolling out microfinancing initiatives for MSMEs, particularly those impacted by the pandemic.

Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo of Marikina City’s 2nd District addressed Lopez about assisting companies that had shuttered due to the epidemic.

According to Quimbo, 27,353 businesses were shuttered from January to August this year, impacting 41,815 employees, according to statistics from the Department of Labor and Employment.

MSMEs account for 92 percent of all closed companies.

Lopez said, “We definitely need to assist these MSMEs in terms of microfinancing.”

He went on to say that, in addition to providing low- and no-interest loans, the DTI would assist companies in becoming more resilient in the face of the epidemic.

Realignment of the budget

Quimbo, meantime, emphasized the significant funding for the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which would account for more than half of the agency’s entire budget in 2022.

TESDA has PHP4.3 billion in unspent money in its 2020 budget, according to Quimbo, citing a report from the Commission on Audit (COA).

On the other hand, TESDA Director General Isidro Lapea said that the agency’s budget for 2020 was completely used.

Iloilo Representative Janette Garin suggested realigning PHP7.5 billion of TESDA’s budget to the DTI’s main office, citing the need to give additional money for MSME initiatives.

Meanwhile, other DTI-affiliated agencies such as the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) has requested a budget of PHP583.3 million for 2022; the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) has requested a budget of PHP126.6 million; the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) has requested a budget of PHP116.2 million, and the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) has requested a budget of PHP71.7 million.

The Center of International Trade and Expositions and Missions (CITEM) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has requested a budget of PHP152.6 million, while the Aurora Pacific and Economic Zone Authority (APECO) has requested a budget of PHP52.2 million for 2022.

For the next year, the department gets an obligatory allocation of PHP453.8 million.

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