The Manila Times : Concepcion urges Marcos to protect MSMEs

By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times

PRESIDENTIAL Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria "Joey" Concepcion 3rd on Saturday called on President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to protect the country's micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) so that they can create more jobs for Filipinos.

"If we are to provide more jobs to more Filipinos, we have to protect the sector that generates more than half of the employment in the country," the Go Negosyo founder said in a statement.

"I believe we are all united in our desire for inclusive growth and prosperity for all," Concepcion added.

Department of Trade and Industry data said MSMEs generated 62.66 percent of the country's total employment.

In 2020, micro enterprises had the biggest share of jobs created with 29.38 percent, closely followed by small enterprises at 25.78 percent, while medium enterprises contributed 7.5 percent.

Concepcion said that job generation and the health of the economy go hand in hand, noting increased economic activity will prompt large companies to increase production resulting in the hiring of more workers.

A bigger profit will allow big firms to increase wages, which in turn will entice more workers.

He said large enterprises account for 37.34 percent of the country's overall employment.

"That is why during the pandemic, we have been pushing for solutions like testing, vaccinations, and now, boosters for those 50 years and older. We need to protect our economic frontliners; the vaccines are more useful in their arms than in storage. We believe this protection will be crucial in keeping the economy going," Concepcion said.

"We must maintain our wall of immunity. We cannot afford restrictions in movement, not now that our debt has reached P12.68 trillion, and by yearend it could be more than P13 trillion," he added.

Concepcion, however, noted that the country's recent loans were necessary for it to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and to build needed infrastructure for sectors like tourism and agriculture.

"These were meant to keep our economy vibrant and give jobs to our people so they can provide for their families. We must not let these go to waste, or risk downgrading our investment-grade status," he said.

A weak economy, Concepcion warned, means less revenue to pay back the country's debts and diminished confidence among its foreign investors.

Concepcion said that MSMEs could no longer afford disruptions because of the damage they took during the height of the pandemic.

"The micro and small, especially, were strapped for working capital. They live hand-to-mouth and can't afford any disruptions in business," he said.

"The health of the population goes hand-in-hand with the health of the economy," Concepcion added.