WITH P7.91 billion earmarked for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP), Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said the agency will request for an increase in its budget to be able to carry out its priority programs and implement laws such as the Vape law, E-commerce Act, among others.
“I’m happy that there are many voices of support for increasing the budget of DTI given the wide range of activities that we’re undertaking for the benefit of the country,” Pascual told reporters on the sidelines of the Make It Happen in the Philippines Reception on Thursday in Makati City.
However, while the budget set for the agency under the 2024 NEP is 9 percent higher than the P6.58 billion in 2023, Pascual said he submitted a wish list of the agency’s priority programs in hopes of getting an increase in DTI’s budget.
“Well the wish list starts with the mandates that have been assigned to us to implement certain laws which should not have been fully funded,” the Trade chief said.
Pascual listed the laws and programs which will be implemented by DTI that would require additional funding.
These are: the Internet Transactions Act which he said will be passed soon; the Export Development Plan; the three-year action agenda for Food Logistics; the development of micro,small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).
For the development of MSMEs, while it is funded, Pascual said there are other items that still need funding such as the shared service facilities.
“In the NEP, there’s P500 million. I asked for P800 million so I hope we’ll get closer to what I asked for in our request for budget,” the Trade chief stressed.
Meanwhile, in the Halal industry he said, “That’s mandated by law but we’re getting the funding of ours since the law was passed from our general resources and we cannot allocate much.”
He pointed out that there were “voices” asking the DTI to be serious about the Halal sector. However, Pascual stressed that there are limitations if the agency will not have enough funding.
“But to show how serious I was even before we talked about it in the House of Representatives, I’ve already organized a six-person task force to promote the development of the halal industry in the Philippines led by Aleem. So that’s a commitment,” the Trade chief said.
For the Creative Industries, Pascual said they asked for P1 billion. “Because we wanted a P500-million fund to support enterprises that will go into Creative Industries.”
“Not really give away money as either investments or loans to enterprises. We need this to be able to support those who will venture into the creative industries, particularly those in game development, animation, software development,” he said.
The other laws and programs included in DTI’s wishlist to consider the augmentation of its budget are the implementation of the Safeguard Measures Act, the implementation of the E-commerce Act 2000.
Pascual said the implementation of the Vape law is also among the agency’s priorities which requires funding, saying, “we’re being asked to be very vigilant but we can only go to a certain extent.”
“For our hirit wishlist, additional for shared service facilities, because I want the shared service facilities to be our way of introducing modern technology in the operation of our MSMEs because that’s the only way you can do it—introduce it through the equipment that will be made available to them,” the Trade chief stressed.