01963: The Need to Support SMEs in the Philippines

It's strange how difficult it is to put up a business in this country, particularly in the SME sphere. All the different forms and requirements to get things started are enough to make anyone's head spin. And it amuses me how the same requirements practically apply when you have your own maid or driver - at least in terms of government benefits like SSS or  PhilHealth coverage.

When you look at other countries, you see a bunch of quick-start guides that even include options for getting tax breaks in your first few years or possibly grants from the government to start a business. There's always a lot of discussion about encouraging more people to get into business in order to further boost the economy but in practice you don't really see the support from the national government around here. It's terribly disappointing.

Serious legislative reform is needed to come up with ways to offer better protection for SMEs and to encourage more of them to get started on a business. But since our laws are paranoid and assume that everyone is out to cheat the government out of tax revenue, our laws remain pretty much hostile. And we're really not going to grow our economic base that way. Instead we'll continue to rely more on foreign investments and remittance-derived revenue, which really illustrates how we'll never really shake off our mentality as a former colony for different world powers.

But hey, we continue to hope for the best and with luck things will get better in time.