MSMEs get P4.5B DTI loans under CARES program

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have already availed of some P4.5 billion worth of loans from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under its CARES (Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises) program as of June 9. 

In a statement Thursday, the DTI said the P4.5-billion loans assisted 30,408 MSMEs that applied for its zero-interest loans.

Through its financing arm, Small Business (SB) Corp., DTI rolled out the CARES program in May 2020 to assist MSMEs recover from their losses brought about by the pandemic and the lockdown measures.

DTI started the CARES program with P1-billion fund from its 2020 budget and another P10 billion from the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2), P6 billion of which were alloted for MSMEs in the heavily devastated tourism sector.

The DTI has until the end of the month to roll out the remaining budget for its microfinancing program as the Bayanihan 2 is only effective until June 30.

To accelerate the release of remaining allocation, the DTI is working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the CARES for TRAVEL (Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood).

The DTI and DOT hoped to accelerate the utilization of CARES for TRAVEL funds as more tourism economic activities start to reopen their operations.

“With this microfinancing program providing collateral-free and interest-free loans to businesses affected by the pandemic, our MSMEs can begin to rebuild their respective businesses and take part in the recovery that has started around the world,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez has expressed optimism the start of the vaccination for the A4 group which include economic front-liners, that will boost consumer and business confidence.