June 21, 2024

Funds downloaded by the Department of Budget and Management to the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) for lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have been fully used as of the end of 2021, according to the SBCorp, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.  
SBCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Luna Cacanando said of the P7.93 billion loan granted by the Bayanihan 2 Act to SBCorp for MSMEs, P4B was set aside for travel and tourism related loans, and P3.93B billion were used for lending to multi-sectoral MSMEs or businesses in trading, manufacturing, services, agriculture and other sectors.  
As of Feb. 28, SBCorp. has approved P5.9B for multi-sectoral MSMEs, exceeding the P3.93B in funds provided for types of enterprises, or by 150 percent.
The extra fund was internally sourced from SBCorp. funds Cacanando said.
“SBCorp. has lent more to MSMEs than what was provided for by the Bayanihan 2 Act and downloaded by DBM,” Cacanando said  
The Bayanihan 2 instructed a capital infusion to the SBCorp of P10.0B as the government’s response to the need for financing assistance to MSMEs affected by the series of protracted lockdowns and enhanced community quarantine since March 2020.   
However, only P8.08B was released by the DBM to SBCorp. which was downloaded in November 2020, out of which P7.93B were loan funds and the rest earmarked for mobilization and operating expenses.   
The loan program for tourism enterprises or the Cares for Travel is administered by the SB Corp. in partnership with the Department of Tourism.   
The excess funds were sourced by the SBCorp. from the annual funds provided by Congress for the P3 Program, a micro-financing program intended by the government to replace usurious money lending companies. Also, with the concurrence of the DOT, a portion of the funds for the tourism sector was temporarily used for lending to multi-sectoral MSMEs, as the uptake of loans for tourism was very slow.  
Cacanando said the travel and tourism sector has lagged in availing of loan assistance from the government due to the effects of the prolonged lockdown in the tourism sector. The uptake of loans from tourism establishments has been very slow due to the series of lockdowns and the general uncertainty that had governed the sector the past two years.  
As of Feb. 28, only P278 million worth of loans to the tourism sector have been approved by SBCorp., although as much as P524M are now in the pipeline for processing.  
“We expect an increase in loan applications from the travel and tourism sector as the country removed last March 1 the restrictions in most inter zonal domestic travel and the quarantine requirements for vaccinated international travelers. Also, the scope of the Cares for Travel Program has been expanded to include non-DOT accredited tourism enterprises such as tourism support services and facilities. Lastly, the destruction brought about by Typhoon Odette in major tourism areas in the country has increased the demand for Cares for Tourism and Travel loans,” Cacanando said. – Press release