Ode to 2021: Reset, Rebound, Recover
As we enter the final month of what has been a universally challenging, unprecedented year of tackling both a pandemic and the subsequent financial crisis it plunged the world into, concerns regarding the imminent new year is expected.
On Thursday 26 November 2020, the House of Senate approved the third and final reading of the 2021 national budget known as the General Appropriations Bill (GAB). The proposed budget stands at an impressive Php 4.5 trillion. This is 9.9% higher than the national budget for 2020 and is equivalent to 21.8% of the Philippines’ GDP.
With the pandemic still at its peak, the significant increase in the 2021 national budget is born out of necessity for our Covid-19 response.
The Php 4.5 trillion budget is allocated to various sectors to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and to act as a catalyst in boosting the Philippine economy into a recovery.
Building the Resilience of Local Businesses
Under the proposed 2021 GAB, there are several projects and budget allocations designated to support businesses survive, recover, and thrive next year.
MSME Development Program: P2.3 billion budget
Aims to increase the flexibility and resilience of MSMEs through:
- 1,125 Negosyo Centers will be maintained and 157 will be created (P627 million)
- 2,579 Shared Service Facilities will be maintained and 340 will be set up (P578 million)
- 359,200 individuals in 3,592 barangays will be given information on various livelihood opportunities through the Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay of the DTI (P203 million)
- 28,000 farming households will participate in Detailed Investment Plans through the RAPID Project
- P111 million will go towards 7,986 MSMEs assisted through the One Town, One Product: Next Generation Project (P91 million)
Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso Program: P1.5 billion budget
Through this program, MSMEs can avail of cash flow assistance by applying for a loan that is affordable. This will be offered to 60,000 borrowers (Small Business Corporation).
Industry Development Program: P510 million budget
Aims to increase competition between the manufacturing, agricultural and services sectors through the Go Lokal Projact (P9 million) and Digital Philippines (P40 million) of the DTI.
Productivity Improvement Program: P125 million budget
Various productivity training programs and technical assistance will be offered to enterprises and individuals to increase their adaptability to the post-pandemic life (DOLE – National Wages and Productivity Commission).
Evidently, the 2021 GAB will provide reassuring support and security to businesses as we transition to the post-pandemic stage.
Now, we eagerly await as the 2021 budget plan rests on President Rodrigo Duterte’s desk to be approved and signed into law.