By Jeremaiah Opiniano?
MANILA-THE Department of Trade and Industry included overseas Filipinos in the recently-launched 2011-2016 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Plan.
The inclusion of overseas Filipinos comes as the DTI's Philippine Trade Training Center began its weekly training sessions targeting overseas Filipinos.
According to the plan, overseas migration "is an important factor in economic development" but its potential "has not yet been tapped".
Thus, the plan said that overseas migration "creates opportunities for MSME development".
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These opportunities come in three ways, the plan wrote, including the following:
- Migration raises potential capital for the establishment of MSMEs in the countryside. Remittances can be channeled towards entrepreneurial endeavors such as agri-business, while helping further develop the MSME sector;
- Migration can also improve the demand for products and services by MSMEs in both the Philippines and in host countries;
- The skills and talent of overseas Filipinos could lead to new forms of businesses, knowledge transfer, and raise the productivity and efficiency of MSMEs.
MSMEs make up 99.6 percent of all total establishments in the Philippines, contributed 61.2 percent of the country's total employment and 35.7 percent of total value added.
The introductory part of the 2011-2016 MSME Plan,?developed by the SME Development Council, admitted the "growth of the MSME sector has not been vigorous enough to propel the economy".
DTI-Philippine Trade Training Center and the Department of Labor and Employment, through the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, are jointly training overseas Filipino workers to become entrepreneurs and exporters, thus explaining the weekly two-day training sessions of PTTC for overseas Filipinos.
"These free training sessions consist of key topics on how to start a business, entrepreneurial education activities where they learn the business cycle, market supply and demand, and selling as well as preparing the business plan," a DTI release wrote.
The remaining training sessions will be held on August 16 and 17; August 23, 24 and 31; September 1; September 6 and 7; September 13 and 14; and September 20 and 21.
Migration, in the MSME Development Plan, is one of four thematic areas together with gender, corporate social responsibility, and climate change.
In 2010, a report by the Private Sector Promotion Program of the German International Cooperation (GIZ) recommended the inclusion of overseas Filipinos in the then prospective 2011-2016 MSME Development Plan.
"There is ample international evidence supporting the case that... remittances from migrants can be harnessed for generating local investment opportunities," the GIZ report titled "Intergating Migration as a Competitive Advantage in the MSME Development Plan," authored by political scientist Jean Franco, said.
Integrating overseas migration in the new MSME Development Plan will see the sector try to weave out interventions related to the four key "outcome portfolios" of the MSME Plan. These are improving the business environment, access to finance, access to markets and productivity and efficiency.
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