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Dominguez urges MSMEs to underscore sector’s economic importance

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Wednesday highlighted the importance of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the Philippines’ growth story and urged businessmen belonging to the sector to make their contribution become more relevant.

In his speech during the second Sulong Pilipinas (Forward Philippines) being held at the EDSA Shangri La, Dominguez noted that the 6.4 percent growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), in the first quarter of 2017 was led by manufacturing, which grew by 7.5 percent year-on-year.

“We hope this pattern will continue,” he said, citing that 99.6 percent of all enterprises in the country are composed of MSMEs.

“This important sector must speak with a stronger voice in this forum. Government policies must be squarely behind your success,” he said.

Sulong Pilipinas, first held in Davao City in May 2016, convenes businessmen, representatives from civil society and stakeholder groups to formulate action plans and recommendations to help the government formulate programs and policies.

Dominguez said “substantial accomplishments” have been achieved since the first consultative forum.

Data released during the forum showed that one of the accomplishments is the extension of the validity of driver’s license from three years to five years, which is among the points of Republic Act (RA) No. 10930, signed into law last August 2.

The newly-signed law amended Section 23 of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. Distribution of the new driver’s licenses is targeted to start this August.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), for its part, said the 72-hour transaction timeline served about five million clients, 3.8 million of whom were served in less than 24 hours.

Transactions that are part of this streamlined processes include issuance of permits, licenses, certificates of registration, registration of workers association, registration of collective bargaining agreements, and accreditation of occupational safety and health practitioner.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said increased electrification nationwide, with the end-December 2016 level covering 90.65 percent of households nationwide, slightly surpassed the 90 percent target by end-2017.

“The economic program of this administration aspires to achieve a regime of high growth. Our economic policies seek to make that growth more inclusive in the next few years as we enable our economy to be investments-led,” Dominguez added.

Joann Villanueva / PNA