DTI sees bigger MSME loan funding

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expects to help more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through an interest subsidy scheme using the P10 billion micro-financing fund provided it under the Bayanihan 2 for the Small Business (SB) Corp.

The Bayanihan 2 allots P10-billion for SB Corp., the DTI’s financing arm, to continue rolling out its Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program and other lending programs as well as interest subsidy.

“We will carve out P1 billion from the P10-billion fund to be assigned to SB Corp under Bayanihan 2 as an interest subsidy fund,” SB Corp. president and chief executive officer Ma. Luna Cacanando said.

Cacanando added that the interest subsidy fund would be used to get additional financing for its lending programs from the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines as well as other banks that would like to participate.

“We will pay them a 5 percent per year interest rate for the amounts we will borrow from them. Thus, the P1.0 billion interest can produce P20.0 billion in loans,” she explained.

Cacanando, however, noted that the 5-percent interest rate is “still hypothetical at the moment” as they are still discussing it with potential partners.

In a budget hearing at the House of Representatives last week, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the interest fund would allow SB Corp. to implement its zero-interest loan program to more MSMEs as well as overseas Filipino workers affected by the pandemic.

The CARES program provides an interest-free loan to existing registered MSMEs and beneficiaries only pay a 6% service charge and are given a six-month grace period before starting their loan payment.

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