No credentials for a business loan? PHL proposes use of utility bills for MSME financing

President Benigno S. Aquino III, accompanied by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, shares the stage with the PPDWE heads of delegation for a group photo during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy 2015 Fora Public Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (PPDWE) at the Reception Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Thursday (September 17), with the theme: “Women as Prime Movers of Inclusive Growth.” The Fora supports the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy by gathering more participation from multi-sector key players from the private sector, academia, and civil society for dialogue and exchange of learning and best endeavors to advance gender integration, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment agenda in APEC. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III, accompanied by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, shares the stage with the PPDWE heads of delegation for a group photo during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy 2015 Fora Public Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy (PPDWE) at the Reception Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Thursday (September 17), with the theme: “Women as Prime Movers of Inclusive Growth.” The Fora supports the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy by gathering more participation from multi-sector key players from the private sector, academia, and civil society for dialogue and exchange of learning and best endeavors to advance gender integration, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment agenda in APEC. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippines is looking at starting an initiative that would allow micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to apply for financing using their record in paying monthly electricity and water dues as credentials.

Department of Trade and Industry Nora Terrado, chair of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy 2015 Fora, said this proposal conforms with the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) 2015-2018 Strategic Plan that “supports the integration of gender responsive policies to further advance women’s empowerment and gender equality.”

In the Philippines, more than 60 percent of MSMEs are owned by women.

Terrado highlighted the need for the informal sector to build credentials “because most of them don’t have bank accounts.”

One of the initiatives currently being discussed is to get a record “of how good they are at paying simple dues.”

“What is their habit of paying electricity (and water), etc.? If they can establish (credit-paying) habits then that will help them have access to capital,” Terrado explained during the APEC Women and the Economy 2015 Fora press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Most of these micro entrepreneurs, the official said, need only about P500,000 to P750,000 to boost their business capital.

She noted that the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, for instance, have made credit facilities amounting to P1 million available to MSMEs.

This is what the government aims to provide to MSMEs – “giving our micro entrepreneurs a chance to get loans because they have limited capital.”

“We have to work on certain interventions, both the government and the private sector, as PPP (Public-Private Partnership) to allow more opportunities on that respect,” Terrado said.

On Friday, representatives from APEC member economies delivered their joint statement under this year’s theme “Women as Prime Movers of Inclusive Growth,” aiming to reaffirm women’s “crucial role” in achieving economic prosperity and women’s leadership roles as imperative for competitiveness and success in the private and public sectors.

Terrado said the strategic plan will address five areas of APEC’s women empowerment objective. These are: improved access to capital and assets; access to markets; skills, capacity-building, and health; women’s leadership, voice, and agency; and innovation and technology. (MNS)

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