Politics

Bill calls for virtual one-stop shop of support services for online MSMEs

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A SENATOR has filed a bill that will create a virtual one-stop shop of support services for online micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including access to loan windows.   

“We must recognize the importance of e-commerce in the development and recovery of our economy from the effects of the pandemic,” Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid said in a statement on Tuesday.  

“So, it is appropriate to pay attention to the potential of small online businesses once they are formalized and registered in order to provide them with adequate support services,” he added.  

Senate Bill 1499 or the Support Services for Online MSMEs Act, filed on Monday, seeks to provide mechanisms for the integration of online MSMEs into the formal economy by offering incentives to register.   

Such services will include loans from government financial institutions, regulatory relief and extensions, technical training, product development services, marketing assistance, and logistics support.  

“This proposal also aims to provide sufficient capital and credit access to those who wish to build an online business, and to have an online one-stop portal for all support services to provide adequate information, updates on developments and technological advancements,” Mr. Lapid said.  

MSMEs account for 99.58% of the 1.08 million businesses in the Philippines, based on 2021 government data.   

Mobility restrictions during the pandemic prompted existing MSMEs to adopt online selling while new online entrepreneurs have also emerged.    

Under the proposed law, agencies that will be involved in the portal are the Department of Trade and Industry, Credit Information Corporation, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.  

The Department of Agriculture will also be mandated to help farmers and fisherfolk find direct market access in the online space and to duly register as enterprises.    

When passed into law, implementation will be funded through an allocation in the annual government budget. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan