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DTI set to release P800M to exporters

First Posted 11:05:00 08/28/2009

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to release the remaining P800 million from the P1 billion subsidy set aside by government to help exporters survive the economic crisis.

Apolinar G. Suarez, Jr., chairman of Philexport-Cebu, said the P800 million is already available but the DTI had problems with the requirements needed to release the amount for the exporters.

He said the DTI needed people from the private sector since handling money was not within the agency?s level of expertise.

?Approval of the release of funds is not a problem, the releasing itself is what slows us down,? said Suarez during the opening DTI Exporters Expo 2009 in SM City Cebu yesterday.

The DTI Exporters' Expo 2009 in Cebu is the fourth of its kind to be held around the country which they started in Manila. The expo will run from August 27 to 30.

?Once the P800 million budget gets released, then we can continue to help those who are still having difficulties,? he said.

?We can support anything from trade to strengthening the foundation of an organization as well as support for testing equipment to be used during expos,? Suarez said.

P1B subsidy

Senior Undersecretary Thomas Aquino, who was the keynote speaker of the event, said P1 billion subsidy to exporters was granted by the national government to help exporters increase marginal profits and survive this difficult time.

Aquino said that the exporters were the most affected by the crisis.

The first tranch was P200 million.

Eric Casas, owner of furniture company Kirsten International Philippines, Inc., is one of the exporters who applied for the government subsidy.

Casas said he already submitted a proposal for funding to the Export Development Council. He, however, did not know when the fund would be released.

FOUNDATION

Cebu Fame foundation was one of the Cebuano groups that received subsidies from the first tranche.

The foundation submitted six proposals. Three of these were approved including their International Trade Fair Bijoux Cebu.

Maria Gina Yosores, officer-in-charge of the foundation, said they got P5.4 million funding for Bijoux Cebu for 2009 and 2010. A fund worth P7 million was approved for common service facilities like purchasing and testing and technical trainings for their people.

Another foundation, the Cebu GTH Foundation had not received their P24,000 in subsidy from the first tranche because they had yet to submit a revised proposal.

Yosores said that the fashion accessories manufacturers were badly affected by the global crisis although some manufacturers saw a 30 percent decrease in their sales.

Asteria Caberte of the DTI in Central Visayas, said negative margins of exporters sales led to laying off of workers and declaring of bankruptcy of some export firms.

EXPO SUBSIDY

Undersecretary Aquino said the government was subsidizing every event organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

He said expo participants were among the beneficiaries of this subsidy ? the government shouldered most of the expenses of the expo participants.

They only needed to pay a quarter of the rentals of the booths for the duration of the event.

Some 76 exporters joined in the exhibit, included those from the accessories, furniture, food, manufacturing, souvenir sectors.

OUTLET

Casas, an official of the Cebu Furniture Industry Foundation, said the expo would be a good outlet for the export market.

?The exhibit can help exporters dispose non-moving items and avoid having to spend for more storage costs thus could help them concentrate more on product development for the coming upswing of the market,? Casas said.

Suarez noted that few of the industries are already peaking up.

He said this meant that ?we are already on the flat side of the recession, and our industry players are either breaking even or already earning profits and we are expecting this to be an increasing trend.?


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