BUSINESS leaders in Cebu have called for more active participation from the government towards recovery, particularly of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The World Bank in a report on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, warned that more Filipinos will remain trapped in poverty in 2023 if the country’s recovery is not accompanied by inequality reducing policies. It also highlighted that the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely dampen long-term economic growth in countries like the Philippines.
Rey Calooy, chairman of the Filipino Cebuano Business Club, said the report was expected by the business community.
“It is expected. The economy is expected to recover over the forecast horizons, but there are significant downside risks in key policy changes like challenges in managing the pandemic and delivery of social protections,” he told SunStar Cebu.
Calooy said the government should back MSMEs, citing state guarantees in other countries where MSMEs are pump-primed with stimulus. “What we’re doing now is we help each other. We work hard as if there’s no government,” he said in Cebuano.
Calooy said MSMEs are the backbone of the economy because they generate jobs in the countryside; however, in terms of assistance for recovery, most do not feel it.
Steven Yu, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said the business sector has been ravaged by this pandemic.
“In fact, the support of the government is geared toward the lower echelon of society. There is inequality, and the way to bridge the gap is to improve education access up to tertiary level, and affordable healthcare,” he said.
The business sector’s long-term growth is affected, and there is a need for a more coherent roadmap to recovery, Yu said.
As a third world country, Yu said options are limited in the Philippines. “The businesses did not receive any ‘ayuda’ and many are dying,” he said. (JOB)