The Department of Trade and Industry has admitted facing difficulties implementing the government’s micro-lending program designed to compete with illegal loan sharks, because of the lack of qualified cooperatives that can serve as conduits for its funding facilities.
Records of the DTI Small Business Corporation (DTI-SBC) which implements the Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3), showed that only P2 million of the program’s P25 million set aside for Palawan for the current year have so far been committed and disbursed to a few qualified cooperatives.
As of May 7, 2018, only three conduit cooperatives in Puerto Princesa, Narra, and Roxas have qualified for the program. The DTI-SBC admits that the program has yet impacted the credit market because of the lack of cooperatives and organizations engaged in micro-financing in Palawan.
The agency said they are targeting to have at least a conduit in every town in the province that will implement the P3 in the different municipalities.
“Nanawagan tayo sa mga cooperatives at mga grupo na engaged sa micro-financing na makapag-partner sa atin para sa P3 program na may mas mababang interest rates. Maari kayong lumapit sa DTI-SBC,” Marcelino Dile, desk officer of DTI-SBC told Palawan News on Monday.
The program which only started in Palawan in 2018 and touted as the Duterte administration’s counter to loan sharks, has very minimal interest rates to conduit cooperatives which are only two percent per annum and they can lend the funds to their members at a rate of 30 percent per annum or 2.5 percent per month.
He explained that since it is the intention of the program to go full-swing, their agency is now finding ways and schemes on how to release funds or to cater to micro-entrepreneurs and interested borrowers who are not members of these cooperatives.
He further said that the amount of P25 million should have been totally disbursed by June 2018 to their conduits, since there will be another fund for 2019 intended for the P3, but since they still need more qualified cooperatives, only a minuscule of the P25 million has been released to their conduits.
“Dapat first half pa lang (ng 2018) ay ma-disburse na lahat ang P25 million. Ito ay para hindi na ma-pressure sa second half (ng 2018), mas maganda na first half pa lang ay na-accomplish na,” he said.