Proposed MSME e-commerce platform faces delays 

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THE planned creation of an e-commerce platform for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has faced delays, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said.

“The estimate is that we need at least a quarter to reformulate the approach,” Mr. Pascual told reporters in a recent chance interview. “But it is still an active project. I keep on saying that we need to do it because it helps the transition of local MSMEs before going to the global arena.”

The platform, which is in partnership with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), was supposed to be launched before the end of 2022, he said.

“We need to incorporate and integrate the new elements that are coming up, which caused the delay. The [e-commerce] players are also evolving. The original partner that we talked to, they might have to go to a different way of approaching it,” Mr. Pascual said.

Aside from being a stepping-stone for MSMEs, the e-commerce platform is also seen to help increase consumer awareness about the various products offered by local MSMEs.

“I’m also looking at it (e-commerce platform) as a system by which we can make known nationally what’s really available in the Philippines. This is because the moment we put into the global platform directly the Philippine MSMEs, their products will be eclipsed, drowned by many more products that are coming from different countries in the world,” Mr. Pascual said.

“The platform we will set up will serve as a way by which Filipinos can really see and focus on what’s available from Philippine enterprises across different regions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pascual said that another goal for the Department of Trade and Industry’s e-commerce platform is to serve as a basis for an e-catalog for the government.

“But that will come later… It might require a law to mandate government offices to buy, mandatorily, not just giving a margin of preference,” Mr. Pascual said.

“If a product is available domestically from local producers, it is mandatory to get it there. We don’t want a situation where Filipino companies are subjected to competition in an uneven playing field,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave