MAKATI CITY–On 22 November 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual underscored the significance of digitalization in transforming micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into larger enterprises to thrive in the digitally-driven economic landscape during the MSME Digitalization Agenda and Work Plan Workshop held at Dusit Thani. He also expressed continued support in developing a strategic framework to empower MSMEs, aligned with the Department’s science, technology, and innovation-(STI) driven strategy. 

Secretary Pascual stressed, “The drafting of this MSME Plan is more than a bureaucratic step; it is a strategic move shaping how the government supports the transformation of MSMEs. At the core of this plan is digital transformation, highlighting our commitment to enabling MSMEs to navigate challenges and seize digital-age opportunities.” 

The DTI chief recognized the country’s small businesses as the backbone of the economy, comprising 99.6% of the business establishments in the Philippines. He also outlined initiatives dedicated to enhancing digital transformation for future-ready MSMEs.

The Trade and Industry Secretary emphasized the strategic significance of the workshop that led to the development of an MSME digitalization agenda and work plan. He added that this plan will support the digital transformation for small businesses to remain competitive amidst evolving technological landscapes.  

Further, Secretary Pascual cited that the workshop’s objectives are aligned with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s goal towards MSME advancement and digitalization for them to be globally competitive. Additionally, he discussed the forthcoming five-year MSME Development (MSMED) Plan, which will serve as the government’s systematic framework for harnessing the MSMEs’ potential through digital transformation and positioning them on the international economic stage.  

The trade and industry chief also presented the DTI’s programs that leverage information and communications technology (ICT) tools and e-commerce platforms. He commended the Bureau of SME Development (BSMED) for its MSME Client Profile and Monitoring System, which operates as a cloud-based platform. He recognized the system for effectively monitoring more than two million profiles and interventions, assisting in evaluating policy impact and directing specific initiatives.  

Secretary Pascual also underscored strategic alliances with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), digital providers, and regional offices. He added that these partnerships are vital in leveraging cutting-edge technologies to empower MSMEs and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to foster digital proficiency and sustained growth. 

Highlighting the collaborative and long-term efforts to realize the vision for digitalization and inclusive economic growth for MSMEs, Secretary Pascual stressed,  “Together, let us ensure that MSMEs thrive in the digital age, propelling Philippine economic prosperity. Let’s work together, embracing the bright and promising digital future that lies ahead for a Bagong Pilipinas!” 

The MSME Digitalization Agenda and Work Plan Workshop outcomes will be used as inputs for the MSMED Plan 2023-2028, which will be presented to the President by the end of December 2023. ♦

Date of release: 24 November 2023