BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen, good morning.

Today we celebrate economic and financial literacy, which is one of the pillars of the Filipino entrepreneur’s resiliency and recovery in this pandemic. It is also one of the most vital aspects of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs)’ journey towards a lasting contribution to the economy.

Even before the pandemic, access to finance has been one of the key issues that hinder MSMEs from effectively participating in the local and global value chains. While efficient and sustainable access to finance is crucial, financial literacy is just as indispensable to business development. A good grasp of the financial performance and position of firms is vital in executing informed decisions that can elevate businesses to new heights.

The importance of financial literacy is even more emphasized during these challenging times as the disruptions caused by COVID-19 in the day-to-day operations of MSMEs affect their income and cash flow the most. How to manage and be strategic in the use of the limited working capital, which can even be more challenging in the time of the pandemic, is key for a business to survive and thrive and even prosper.

For DTI, we initiated a lot of financial literacy programs to complement our MSME financing programs. Programs such as those offered by PTTC Global MSME Academy, DTI SME Roving Academy, DTI Negosyo Center Seminars, feature modules dedicated to good accounting and finance. Among others, these also include the BSP-organized financial education webinars for MSMEs and Negosyo Center business counselors, the tripartite agreement of the DTI with the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines for the conduct of Accounting for Non-Accountants Lecture Series.

We also have other programs that we do to empower and enable our MSMEs to become more financially literate. Of course, we supply it with financing programs like the Small Business Corporations (SBCorp)’s COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program that provides zero-interest and no-collateral kind of assistance to MSMEs for their working capital requirement. Just recently, we also launched the financing program to help pandemic-affected micro and small companies fulfill their 13th month obligation to their employees in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and SBCorp.

All these programs and interventions aim to support MSMEs to recover from the adverse impacts of the pandemic, in accordance with directives from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. As we are seeing signs of economic recovery, we continue to further assist MSMEs pivot in the New Normal through fruitful collaborations with our local and international development partners.

I take this opportunity to salute our financial education advocates—our mentors who, out of their own personal experience of struggles and victory in career and business, have poured their wisdom to train and transform MSMEs to become smarter entrepreneurs.

Hats off to Bangko Sentral Governor Ben Diokno, the BSP Economic and Financial Learning Office and the entire BSP team of financial literacy experts and mentors for organizing this crucial forum.

May this Expo result in more fruitful and interesting discussions ahead.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 22 November 2021