Small-business closure rate dwindles to 6% in Aug., Sept.


THE percentage of small businesses that remain closed during the lockdown dropped to 6% in August and September, according to the Department of Trade and Industry, citing the results of a limited survey.

The study had about 3,000 respondents representing micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide.

The percentage of shuttered companies dropped from the 38% recorded during the height of the lockdown in April and May.

“Thirty-eight percent of companies were closed and about 50% partially operating during the height of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in April and May,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in an online conference Monday.

The corresponding closure rate was 11% in June and July, he said.

Mr. Lopez did not reconcile the survey findings with the 26% closure rate the Trade department reported for June.

“We are hopeful that the reported recovery momentum will lead our country towards full recovery by early next year,” he said.

MSMEs make up 99.5% of the total business establishments operating in the country, based on 2018 government statistics. The businesses account for 63% of the country’s total employment.

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated a 17.7% unemployment rate in April, equivalent to 7.25 million jobless, against 2.27 million a year earlier.

Mr. Lopez said that he expects a return to higher GDP (gross domestic product) growth and low unemployment due to the large domestic market.

“We still have our huge 109 million consumer market and large workforce,” he said.

“We still have strong economic fundamentals brought about by many reforms in trade and investments, financial reforms, rice tariffication, and the aggressive Build, Build, Build, which pump-primes the economy and lays out better economic infrastructure for the business sector and the Filipinos in general.” — Jenina P. Ibanez

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