Asean info drive goes down to barangay level
TO increase the competitiveness and participation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asean Economic Community, businessmen have partnered with the relevant government agencies in disseminating down to the barangay level basic information about the regional economic integration.
Barangay-level MSMEs, such as sari-sari stores and small eateries, are suffering from the same problems of lack of financial backing, poor product quality and lack of information on the services of government agencies.
If left unaddressed, these problems could decrease the competitiveness of MSMEs in both the domestic and international markets, said National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) assistant regional director Dionisio Ledres, Jr.
“We should support SMEs because they are a major source of employment of poor and low-income workers. They have a role in poverty reduction,” he said during a forum on Asean economic integration and its relevance to barangays.
To do this, a constant dialog must be held among the business sector, government agencies, and barangays, said Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) vice president for business development and management division.
“We are here to help you focus on the issue by inspiring you to become enablers of economic development, by giving you ideas on how to promote more business activities in your respective communities and by linking you with the proper government agencies that can assist to create better economic opportunities that attract investments and generate more employment in your areas,” Ng told barangay officials in the forum yesterday.
The officials then have the task of relaying the knowledge to their barangay business owners and entrepreneurs.
“We believe that businesses in barangays should be part of the integration. They provide bigger businesses raw materials that are needed by us to compete. We need to encourage them to also participate in the Asean supply chain,” she added.
Philip Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) in Cebu City, said barangay captains are willing to help, but they do not know what they can do.
“This is a good opportunity so that we can grasp what we should do,” he said.
Zafra said they hope they can come up with more ways to create more livelihood and employment opportunities in the barangays.
The Asean Economic Community, which was established in December last year and took effect this year, allows the free flow of goods, services, investments, skilled labor and capital across the 10 member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Asean is the seventh largest economic bloc in the world, with a market estimated at $2.6 trillion and a population of over 622 million as of 2014.
The forum was organized by the CCCI, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), Department of Manpower Development and Placement (DMDP) and Neda.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.