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BAGUIO CITY – Some P100 million is readily available to initially finance the local government’s stimulus package for micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that had been heavily impacted by the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
City Budget Officer Leticia O. Clemente, chairperson of the city’s Local Finance Committee, said that the funds for the local stimulus package will be drawn from the P150 million earlier appropriated by the City Council for the anti-Coronavirus Disease 2019 operations as the same had not been fully utilized for its prescribed purposes.
Clemente explained that 50 percent of the initial amount earmarked for the local stimulus package will be given to micro businesses, 30 percent will be allocated for small businesses and 20 percent will be used to extend financial assistance to medium enterprises in the city.
Based on the data obtained from the city’s Permits and Licensing Division, over 23,000 businesses in the city were issued business permits last year with 20,484 under the micro category, 2,074 as small businesses, 438 medium enterprises, while 63 are large businesses.
In terms of contribution to the coffers of the city through the taxes paid, Clemente revealed that the micro businesses accounted for P98 million of the business taxes collected last year, small enterprises contributed P58 million, and medium businesses paid more than P72 million taxes.
According to her, part of the draft guidelines for the grant of the financial assistance with zero interest and payable within 24 months is that the businesses availing of the local stimulus package is that the business must have been operational for at least one year and with a valid business permit issued for its operation.
The city budget officer stated that the city government plans to roll out the local stimulus package for MSMEs on the 4th week of June and will end on the 4th week of August.
Clemente said that for the second wave of financial assistance, the city government is contemplating on providing similar soft loans for individuals and groups in the city’s informal sector where the city plans to issue business permits for free to convince them to register and contribute to the local coffers in the form of taxes.
Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong ordered the city’s Local Finance Committee to source out an additional P100 million from funds that can be used for financial assistance through the stimulus package to the heavily impacted business sector of the city.
Clemente explained the city’s finance officers are trying to source out the additional P100 million to be added to the initial funds for the local stimulus package to allow the businesses to recover and help in spurring the local economy that suffered a slump during the ECQ implementation.
She cited part of the unused funds in the previous years will be realigned to fund the required funding support for the stimulus package for heavily impacted businesses.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis