The trade department's Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) on Thursday said it is looking at the possibility of borrowing from state-owned lenders to provide more funds for its loans for COVID-hit businesses.
In a briefing with the House of Representatives Committee on Trade and Industry (DTI), SB Corp. representatives said funds are running low, and the money is seen to last only for another two to three months.
"From now, mga two to three months ang pinag-uusapan," said SB Corp. executive vice president and chief operating officer Melvin Abanto.
"Napilitan na kami to stop accepting applications through the website na binuksan namin for this, dahil nga sa napakarami na nung dumating."
He was referring to the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program, which grants loans to micro and small establishments operating for at least a year prior to March 16, 2020.
Under the P1-billion program, micro enterprises with asset size of not more than P3 million are allowed to borrow from P10,000 to P200,000, while small enterprises with asset size of no more than P15 million may borrow up to P500,000.
As of September 9, 2020, SB Corp. has accepted a total of 20,796 applications worth P3.2 billion. Applications approved were at P971 million, of which P375 million was already released.
Without the additional funds, Abanto said the SB Corp. will not be able to accommodate more businesses seeking for loans, but it is now in coordination with state-owned lenders to address this.
"Just in case we need to, kinausap na ho namin and Land Bank (of the Philippines) and DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines)," he said.
Abanto said SB Corp. is looking at two solutions -- borrow from the LandBank and DBP, or pass on the loans to the two banks.
"Ang problema lang sa mga solusyon na ito, parang pinagpapasa-pasa natin 'yung kliyente. Hindi tayo nag-aabsorb ng mas maraming kliyente," he said.
For its part, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has already repeatedly appealed for Congress to increase the agency's budget. —LBG, GMA News