The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) is urging consumers and entrepreneurs to spend more, and for financial institutions to help increase liquidity to help the country recover from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“(The) slowdown and stoppage in many economic activities in recent months due to the pandemic and the quarantines have had a detrimental impact on jobs and incomes for millions of our countrymen nationwide,” said Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the FFCCCII.
Liong is among the very vocal business leaders in the country when it came to recommending measures to help the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Banks need not be overly conservative. If more money circulates, the faster momentum of economic recovery shall benefit all in a virtuous cycle of investments and consumption, in contrast to a climate of fear and gloom with its vicious cycle of shutdowns or retreats,” Liong said.
“We urge banks to extend support to micro, small [and] medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs), many of which now face existential threats, and also to big companies [that] want to consolidate and expand,” he added.
He even recommended that businesses refrain from laying off their employees; help keep basic goods affordable; support farmers and fishermen; boost e-commerce; export more; revive local manufacturing by buying local products; invite more foreign investors; support domestic tourism; and invest in and upgrade the health industry.
The FFCCCII also believes there should be more investments poured into food and agro-industrial ventures to attain food security and decongest Metro Manila and spur development in the provinces; develop more affordable housing; retrain and employ returning overseas Filipino workers; promote wellness; and support the government’s socioeconomic reforms.
Liong in April this year gave FFCCCII’s first set of recommendations to the government on how to keep the economy afloat amid the lockdowns and quarantines caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Liong said in April the pandemic was not only a public crisis but “becoming a daunting existential economic crisis” as many MSMEs are now paralyzed, adding among the proposals of FFCCII was to subsidize wages for employees of MSMEs.
FFCCII also sought financial support for paid sick leaves for Covid-19 patients.
And to ease the liquidity pressures among MSMEs, the group recommended a government guarantee to banks to enable them to provide low-interest or zero-interest loans to enterprises.
“MSMEs are important not only to our whole interconnected ecosystem, vital not only to our aspirations for economic democracy but strengthening MSMEs is crucial for upholding social justice and eradicating age-old massive poverty in the Philippines,” Liong said. SOVEREIGNPH