Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez is batting for the restoration of the P500 million budget for shared service facilities (SSF) program into the 2021 budget to achieve at least a P1 billion fund allocation next year for this program.
Lopez raised this potential P1 billion SSF Program 2021 budget at today’s virtual celebration of the Cooperatives Day where he lauded the various cooperatives in the country as DTI partners in reaching to the marginalized sector of the society.
Lopez explained that the P500 million budget for SSF this year was among those allocations that had been realigned to help fund the government’s COVID-19 efforts. For 2021, the DTI is looking at another P500 million allocation for SSF for a total of P1 billion budget once the 2020 budget is restored.
The trade chief also expressed optimism for the restoration of the 2020 budget citing how the legislators appreciate the program to provide shared facilities to micro small and medium enterprises through cooperatives and associations at the grassroot level.
“There are many things to be thankful for in the cooperative sector because of your tie-up with the many programs of the DTI and you are our partner in bringing our programs to the people because you have the widest network of constituents that we need to reach so we can strengthen our MSMEs,” Lopez said.
There are 839 cooperative partners of DTI and as conduits of the SB Corporation, the micro lending arm of the government.
In fact, he also raised the possibility of a manageable transfer rate for the CARES Direct Lending program to cooperatives.
“There are lots of programs of DTI that cannot be done without you,” he told the cooperatives.
SSF is a DTI program that provides tools, equipment or facilities to be shared among members of cooperatives, whose members are mostly micro and small entrepreneurs. Thus, Lopez cited the need to continue the SSF program with more funding.
Together with partner agencies like TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), he vowed of DTI’s continued support to empower cooperatives with skills training through seminars and exposure to digital commerce.
He also raised the potential of creating special programs for cooperatives through the Philippine Trade Training Center to develop modules.