Legislator backs more budget support for failing, closed small businesses

A MINORITY legislator said Monday she supports measures within the national budget providing credit access to help revive faltering or closed small businesses, in the interest of minimizing job losses.

Marikina Representative Stella Luz A. Quimbo, speaking in a plenary session on the proposed P4.5-trillion budget for 2021, said she backs more credit mediation services for micro, small, and medium enterprises.

“We should use our borrowings for businesses which have shut down, to help them start all over again. We should use borrowing for our declining businesses, to avoid job losses” she said in English and Filipino.

Ms. Quimbo said the government must take advantage of the country’s credit rating to borrow funds for stimulus programs, especially for businesses.

Moody’s Investors Service affirmed the country’s BAA2 credit rating in July with a stable outlook.

The country needs to return to pre-pandemic levels of performance by next year, with businesses resuming full operations, Ms. Quimbo said.

Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Chairman and Albay Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda backed a further set of recovery programs similar to Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II), or Republic Act No. 11494.

He said, however, that it is a “judgement call” whether to borrow more for stimulus programs, saying that the Philippines can only go as far as borrowing the equivalent of 9% of gross domestic product (GDP).

“It is a judgment call for the Duterte government. The bottom line: it is a judgement call,” he said.

Mr. Salceda said increased investment in infrastructure under the proposed 2021 budget, which he described as “unprecedented,” will have multiplier effects that can make the economy more productive.

The Build, Build, Build program is poised to receive P1.107 trillion under the proposed budget, which is equivalent to 5.4% of GDP. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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