Monday, October 8, 2012

DTI Mulls P1-B SSF Fund

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is planning to raise the budget for shared service facility (SSF) program to P1 billion by 2014 from P700 million in 2013 to provide more equipment and facilities key to the improvement in the capability and competitiveness of micro enterprises around the country. Trade and industry undersecretary Merly Cruz told reporters that P700 million have been allocated for 2013 to jump start the establishment of facilities and machineries for use by micro enterprises in the rural areas. ''DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo would even like to see a total of 1,000 SSFs scattered throughout the country,'' Cruz said. For the 2013 budget, Cruz said they have already received 700 proposals to be screened by the DTI after which the agency will conduct a public bidding for the supply of these machineries and equipment. The proposals, she said, are all for the establishment or purchase of equipment and machineries for agribusiness ventures. The DTI priorities are businesses engaged in bamboo, rubber and coconut coir. ''We are hoping that by January next year we can already place orders for these facilities so enterprises can start producing using these facilities within the first quarter also,'' Cruz said. The SSFs could be hosted by a private group, academe, cooperatives, or under the Department of Science and Technology. The DTI shunned putting these facilities under the care of local government units to avoid any political color. The SSFs have to be shared among clustered industry players in a particular area. SSFs are meant to improve the capability of micro enterprises in the processing of raw materials, improve their productivity and quality. Some facilities could cost P10 million each or less. Already, the DTI has launched the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP) after a series of nationwide planning workshops adopting the industry cluster approach to support the development of MSMEs in the country. Already, 21 pilot projects were already identified of which eight of these projects are in Luzon, five in Visayas, and eight in Mindanao. In these projects, practical and sustainable operational plans to promote industry cluster approach are designed and will be implemented. This project aims to help increase the contribution of selected priority industry clusters to the national economy, mainly in terms of job creation, MSME development, investment generation, export growth, and above all poverty alleviation. It is a three-year project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in coordination with the DTI to develop and mobilize pilot industry clusters nationwide. ''The NICCEP intends to improve the competitiveness and business environment of these industry clusters. The capacities of these industry clusters to plan, implement, and evaluate projects will be developed,'' Cruz said. ''With the NICCEP in place, we hope to advance MSME's capacity to adopt the industry cluster approach and make them contribute to national growth and development,'' she added