THE micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) group in Cebu has welcomed the P24 billion wage subsidy intervention of the government saying that this would benefit the sector badly wounded by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The wage subsidy program seeks to grant an P8,000 wage subsidy per month for a maximum of three months to MSME workers, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, during the virtual job summit of the Task Group on Economic Recovery-National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) on Saturday, May 1, 2021.
The wage subsidy program is aimed at preserving existing jobs by subsidizing the wages of workers in the MSME sector. It is projected to benefit one million workers.
“We welcome this move. Anything that can support our MSME sector is laudable. During this time, no matter how much the budget is, as long as it acts as support to small businesses, it is very welcomed,” said Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy.
However, Calooy said the program’s mechanics must be laid down, including the qualified MSMEs as well as the payout system.
The wage subsidy for MSMEs is part of the government’s P1.14 trillion eight-point employment strategy to revive the country’s Covid-19-battered labor sector.
NERS aims to generate 2.4 to 2.8 million jobs this year.
“In sum, we have initially allocated P1.14 trillion for the convergence program of the NERS eight-point employment recovery agenda under the 2021 General Appropriations Act. The same will be prioritized by the implementing agencies in their 2022 proposals,” said Lopez.
Chairman of the Senate labor committee Sen. Joel Villanueva expressed support for the proposed P8,000 wage subsidy program for MSMEs.
He said he would study the proposal, particularly on sourcing the funds needed to realize the program.
“We’ll look into this proposal, which is a part of our NERS, so that we in the Senate could also do our part and study potential funding sources for this important program to help MSMEs retain jobs,” the lawmaker said.
8-point recovery agenda
Besides the wage subsidy for the MSMEs, the government plans on holding a job summit, supporting the passage of priority legislation and policies that strengthen the economic and employment recovery, promoting retooling and upskilling of workers and extending assistance to establishments through loans, deferment of applicable fees, and upgrading of processes.
The government will also extend social protection to vulnerable groups such as providing subsidies and emergency employment, and continue the implementation of the Build, Build, Build program, Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-Asa, Integrating Workforce Opportunities for Rebalanced Communities, Public-Private Partnership for the People Initiative for Local Governments and support to National Convergence and Initiatives for Sustainable Rural Development. (JOB with KOC)