Although the result of the May 2016 presidential election is not yet complete and official, it is already probable that Rodrigo Duterte will be the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines. Whether we voted for him or not, it is our obligation to give full support to the next president for the progress of our country. Of course, we are also expecting support from him. And for micro and small business owners like us, we’re expecting his administration to implement projects that will empower the micro and small business sector in the country.
Of all the registered enterprises in the Philippines, around 99.6 percent are composed of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). Of these MSMEs, 90 percent are micro businesses and 9 percent are small enterprises. Hence, if Duterte really wants to help the bottom people, he should go on helping the MSMEs. As a micro-business owner myself, I wish that Duterte’s administration will prioritize the following:
1. Elimination of red-tape in the government
We’re already tired of the slow processing of transactions in the government. We’re already tired of waiting for months just to completely register our small businesses and accomplish other government compliance requirements. As micro-business owners, we don’t have enough money to spend too much time on activities that do not really contribute to income generation. This is why our first wish for Duterte is to suppress the annoying and costly red-tape in the government.
There’s actually the Anti-red Tape Act of 2007, which is aimed to speed up the transactions between us and government agencies. However, despite of such law, red-tape, which is causing distress to all small entrepreneurs, still exists in many government agencies today. I hope that Duterte’s government administration will have a strong political will to effectively implement the Anti-red tape law in the Philippines.
2. Effective and efficient tax system
With 32% maximum income tax rate for individuals and a 30% flat income tax rate for regular corporations, the income tax rate in the Philippines is one of the highest in South East Asia. Yes we understand that our government needs to collect more taxes to fund its projects for the people. But the high income tax rate is only one of the many problems that taxpayers are facing in this country.
Aside from the expensive income tax, micro and small business owners are also suffering from the costly processes of filing tax returns. In the Philippines, the cost of complying and filing income tax return could go higher than the income tax, itself. This happens because a taxpayer may incur incidental costs, such as accountant’s fee, CPA auditor’s fee and even transportation expense just to file his annual income tax return. Moreover, the tax penalties for late filers is a terrible composition of compromise, interest and surcharges.
We wish for a tax reform to ease the extra burden faced by small business owners and taxpayers. We want a lower income tax rates. And if it’s not feasible, then at least the government will do something to make the process of filing and paying of taxes easier and more convenient. For example, we would like to make the filing of taxes done purely online, without the hassles of going to the banks or to the office of the BIR. That way, taxpayers can focus on remitting their correct tax dues to the government, not on the tedious processes of filing it.
3. Fast and affordable Internet connection
We are already tired of being stuck in our workstation, staring in our computers and waiting for the web pages to load. Every business owner needs an efficient Internet connection. We need it to promote our products to potential customers, communicate with existing customers, search for suppliers, and file our tax declarations thru eFPS or eBIRForms.
Just like roads and railways, the Internet serves as a channel where digital goods are transferred from sellers to buyers. If the Internet is slow in the Philippines, Filipinos who are delivering their services to the global market thru the Internet will be in big trouble.
We expect Internet service providers to become one of our most reliable business partners. However, with the current speed of Internet we have today, especially in the provinces, our business operation couldn’t run smoothly. We wish that the next president will be serious in improving the Internet services in the Philippines.
4. Effective and efficient transportation system
Tangible goods have to be delivered to the customers; employees have to commute to their offices; and business owners have to attend to their business meetings. But with the heavy traffic in our streets and problematic airports that we have, business owners are losing time, productivity and money. Thus, another important wish we have for the government is the improvement of our transportation system, whether it is on land, air or water.
5. Cheap and efficient energy
Brownouts or power interruptions are a big problem to Filipino entrepreneurs. Further, electricity is also expensive here. Many micro business owners cannot afford to acquire effective generators, solar panels and other source of alternative energies. Consequently, their business operations are stalled when brownouts or blackouts occur.
We wish that the next government administration can generate and provide affordable energy to the Filipinos with less power interruptions. We will also be happy if the government will choose the cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy for the businesses and the people.
6. Financial support for micro enterprises
Most business loans that are available in the country today are for business owners who don’t actually need to owe money. What I mean is most business loans are available only to those who are already making money or those whose businesses are already steadily earning operating income. For the new and struggling entrepreneurs, it is difficult to obtain loans or financial supports from the government or other financial institutions, such as banks and financing companies.
We hope that in Duterte’s administration, the government will extend the national budget to provide financial aid to aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs. There are already existing government projects under the Magna Carta for MSMEs that have already granted financial aids to a number of micro and small business owners in the country. However, we’d be happy if those financial assistance will reach most, if not all, the Filipino entrepreneurs who need them the most.
Are you a micro or small business owner? What other wishes do you have for the upcoming Duterte government administration? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions by making a comment below.