CTO: More businesses shutting down for good

MORE businesses in Cebu City have closed down more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic forced the government to impose a lockdown for several months, which restricted movement and shut down many establishments.

Data from the Cebu City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) show that 720 business establishments applied for retirement or closure from January to March this year compared to 646 last year.

Fewer businesses also applied to renew their business permits this year compared to 2020.

In 2020, 33,405 business establishments renewed their business permits. This year, the CTO recorded only 31,244, which means 2,161 businesses have shut down for good.

“Many of those who applied for retirement (or) closure of business is due to the losses, no operation last year caused by the pandemic and fear that they can no longer recover,” said Acting City Treasurer Mare Vae Reyes.

The CTO also did not meet its target business tax collection of P1.7 billion. From January to March this year, it was only able to collect P1.5 billion.

Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) head Jared Limquiaco said the data may not look good, but there is still more than half a year left.

Limquiaco said many businesses are waiting and weighing the situation in the city.

“I’m sure that 2,000 (businesses) which did not apply for renewal will lessen by the end of the year,” he said.

Limquiaco said it was also a good sign that more applied for new permits this year compared to 2020.

The CTO recorded 2,109 new businesses that applied for business permits for the first three months of this year, compared to the 1,904 last year.

Despite the situation, Limquiaco said the partnership between the City Government and the private sector is “good.”

“They (private sector) are active in all the activities geared towards the economic recovery,” he said. “So I am confident that the economy in Cebu City can recover sooner rather than later.” (JJL)