P-3 lending program benefits over 219K micro biz

The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) . Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3) has benefitted over 219,000 micro ventures by underprivileged Filipinos.

P-3 is an alternative lending program for small-scale businesses for them to avoid borrowing money and capital from loan sharks like the ‘5-6’ lending scheme.

In his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, President Duterte cited the vital importance of the P-3 program to the economy since micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) comprised 99.6 percent of business establishments in the country, noting their role in job creation, and poverty reduction.

The DTI launched the P-3 program in January 2017 on Duterte’s order for the government to provide an affordable microfinancing program for MSMEs which can borrow P5,000 to P100,000 from it. The program charges only 2% to 2.5% interest compared to the 20% interest rate under the ‘5-6’ lending scheme.

DTI records show that since 2017, a total of PHP8.65 billion worth of loans were released to 219,568 borrowers. The DTI has also partnered with some 443 conduits to roll out the program nationwide.

P-3’s initial fund came from the Office of the President, and was coursed through DTI’s financing arm Small Business (SB) Corp. Starting 2018, the DTI allocated PHP1 billion annually for the program.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, P-3 has extended to Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program —a zero-interest loan for MSMEs that were affected by the lockdowns brought by the health and economic crisis.

Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2), P10 billion was allocated for the MSME lending program.

The Department of Budget and Management has already released P8 billion of the amount to SB Corp.

Of the released budget, P4 billion is allotted for existing MSMEs and P4 billion for enterprises in the tourism sector.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said P4.57 billion of loans were extended to 30,345 MSMEs under the CARES program alone, as of last July 6. The SB Corp. continues to roll out the loan program.