2013 gov’t budget gives crumbs to MSMEs – solon

CEBU – Congressman Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna Party-list) today appealed to Congress to increase the “scandalously miniscule allocations for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of the Aquino administration in the 2013 budget.”

Casiño was in town for the biggest Obra Negosyo Enhancement Countryside Enterprise Business Upliftment (ONE CEBU) Expo upon invitation of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

“Considering that MSMEs account for 61 percent of the total employment in the country, it is downright wrong for the national government to provide only 1.469 billion for MSME development for 2013. In his 2013 budget message, Pres. Aquino stipulated the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) would get a total of P969 million for assistance to MSMEs while P500 million was allotted to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET-UP) Program for MSMEs. That’s among the smallest budgets for the biggest employment-providing sector in the country. That is why it is simply shameful and shows that the 2013 national budget is not really an ‘empowerment budget’ as the administration wants the public to believe,” Casiño, also Makabayan Coalition spokesman, said.

The DTI allocation of P969 million is meant for the Shared Service Facilities project to set up common service facilities and render assistance to 750 MSMEs, as well as to create 50 MSMEs from 2013 onwards (P700 million); for the DTI to develop a one-stop business registration, licensing, and export documentation facility (P136 million); and for MSME sustainable market development and promotion activities (P133 million), respectively.

“In contrast, P45 billion is being allotted to government dole outs in the form of the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program. This is money that will be better spent if used for job and livelihood generation via our MSMEs. Allotting this amount to MSME support and development will provide longer-term livelihood to our people, spur more domestic economy activities and make our citizens productive,” Casiño said.

The third-term congressman also expressed his support to the ONE CEBU initiative of the local governments that bring “the best of Cebu’s products and produce to the national and even international stage.”

“The Cebu local governments have recognized that MSMEs are major drivers of our economy and provide employment to thousands in the province. This is why we commend the One Cebu program as a pioneering local government effort that can be improved and unleashed on a nationwide scale via our Buy Pinoy Build Pinoy!grassroots campaign that promotes the consumption of Filipino-made products and the development of integrated, world-class Filipino industries,” Casiño said.

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