DTI, SBCorp approve over 20,000 loans for MSMEs

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its financing arm, the Small Business Corp. (SBCorp), has approved, as of Feb. 9, 2021, a total of 21,695 loan applications under the Bayanihan Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (Cares) program to provide micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) with urgent relief needed to restart their businesses amid the pandemic.

“We have streamlined the application process and made it online to ensure that more businesses are able to avail of this service. SBCorp completes its evaluation of loan requests within seven working days, even faster if the documents are complete. Submission of documents such as BIR tax return can fast-track approval,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Lopez said over 20,000 MSMEs have already benefitted from this loan portfolio, which has helped businesses survive from permanent closure, recover from the effects of the pandemic, save or even create more jobs and provide income.

“There is currently no backlog on its loan evaluation work, contrary to what other reports say. We are even promoting the program to more MSME applicants,” Lopez clarified.

Based on the nationwide survey of over 3,000 MSMEs conducted by the DTI, around 38 percent were forced to close down during the height of lockdown in April to June last year, and this number went down to five percent towards yearend 2020, as more sectors were gradually reopening.

SBCorp president and chief executive officer Ma. Luna Cacanando reported: “To date in the implementation of the Bayanihan Cares Program, SBCorp has already approved 21,659 loan applications. These loan applications have an equivalent approved loan amount of P2.35 billion.”

Loans from the Bayanihan Cares Program are interest-free, collateral-free, and are available to MSMEs, cooperatives, hospitals and tourism businesses that have been in operation for at least one year.

Repatriated or returning overseas Filipino workers who wish to engage in start-up business may also apply for a loan under the program after some trainings.

According to Lopez, loan terms can be up to four years, including a grace period of up to 12 months, giving MSMEs enough breathing space for the business to recover, and time to pivot and innovate their business models.

Lopez reiterated his call to all MSMEs who wish to restart or to strengthen their business operations to avail themselves of the Bayanihan Cares lending fund.

“The features of the Bayanihan Cares loan are intended to allow entrepreneurs to restart their businesses with ample elbow room. There is no need to worry about loan repayments for one year. There is also no need to worry about escalating financing costs,” Lopez said.

Interested business owners may submit their loan requests through www.BayanihanCARES.ph. Applicants may also contact the Cares Hotline at 8651-3333, and at 1-800-10-651-3333 (nationwide toll-free) for inquiries. (PR)