By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO with reports from ALDWIN QUITASOL and LYN V. RAMO
BAGUIO CITY — Bayan Muna Party List Representative and Chairman of the Congress Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneur Development Teddy Casiño said that the government must begin a comprehensive effort to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Casino gave the inspiration address to some 300 small and medium entrepreneurs from Baguio and Benguet in their conference here on March 22.
Illustrating the state of the country’s small entrepreneurs, Casiño said that the small entrepreneurs belong to the marginalized sectors who are not being heard or being given the much needed support for them to develop, for the small entrepreneurs, it is no fun in the Philippines.
“Ang problema lang dito sa Pilipinas, hindi tayo entrepreneur friendly,” (The problem here in the Philippines is that we are not entrepreneur friendly,).
He told his audience that prosperity does not reach the major number of Filipinos, this is an observation made by the World Bank, and a reality that has long plagued us.
Casiño underscored that the World Bank also pointed out that besides high power rates, lack of financing for small enterprise, unpredictable regulations, uneven playing field in taxation, high cost and tedious processes to start a business, limited access to education and skills training, as impediments to poverty reduction.
As a result, the congressman said, the SMEs remain small business owners.
He recognized the role of SMEs, and told them that if it were not for the small business enterprises that employ Filipino workers, nothing comes out of our economy for most Filipinos.
As he also added that along with the overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) phenomenon, it is the small Filipino businesses who are actually saving the Philippine economy.
Casiño said, SMEs should be given priority by the government as they are investors and innovators. He illustrated that SMEs are investors, when they see the potential for income generation, they create business from their ideas and risk by putting their money into it.
Almost ninety-nine percent (99.6%) of business owners here in the Philippines are micro but they, MSMEs, cannot deliver much to the income of the Philippines, not even to employment because of their poor situation. He explained that small businesses get stuck to their situation because of the lack of support. This is the challenge, how can SMEs be developed? He said that small entrepreneurship should not make only their individual businesses grow or develop employment but also be participants to develop the backbone for national industrialization and play a big role in strengthening the country’s economy.
“After all,” he said, entrepreneurship is not only about making money but it is more of building the country. He said the true growth of small entrepreneurship can be realized in an atmosphere where small entrepreneurs are well supported under a nationalized industry where domestic products and the local agricultural industry are also developed.
As an initial response to the lack of support from the government to small entrepreneurs, Casiño reported to them that through his committee, is the campaign to promote “Buy Pinoy, Build Pinoy” where Filipino small business players be given the opportunity to develop and their products be prioritized amidst the flood of imported goods. # nordis.net