Bacolod City offers relief to Covid-hit MSMEs

April 11, 2022 by No Comments

BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia has unveiled a comprehensive relief package for businesses affected by the health crisis during the last two years.Leonardia, who spoke at MSME Support Program launching dubbed “Ipadayon ang Negosyo kag Trabaho” at the Bacolod City Government Center on Saturday, April 9, said those to be granted relief from payment of their business taxes covering fiscal years 2020 and 2021 include thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the city.Travel operators and tourism stakeholders, accredited cooperatives, taxi and jeepney operators, as well as sari-sari stores, carinderia or restaurant owners welcomed the good news.The mayor was joined by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the City Council committee on trade and industry, who mainly authored the ordinance establishing the Bacolod MSME Development Council ordinance.”The launch of the support program for businesses came right on time as it is a major component of the local government’s Covid exit plan, especially now that we are under the new normal with the deescalation of our status to Alert Level 1,” Leonardia said.Bacolod, he said, was already experiencing its fastest growth ever in 2019 with 25,627 registered businesses, or about 10,000 more than neighboring Iloilo City, before the global crisis was declared.Notably, about 95 percent of registered businesses in the city belong to the MSME category with each employing a high of 10 workers, Leonardia also said.”After we made an analysis and assessment of the state of businesses at the height of the health crisis, Bacolod was very fortunate that only eight percent was badly hit on the first year of the pandemic in 2020 and another four percent in 2021, or a total of 12 percent,” he reported.”Our expectations were higher. We were predicting the worst. We are happy that we managed the pandemic well with the success of our vaccination program,” Leonardia told MSME-attendees.As part of the incentive package, businesses with arrears in their mayor’s permit and other mandatory fees from their previous applications for renewal during the pandemic period will be allowed to settle their dues on staggered or installment basis, City Treasurer Arlene Memoria explained.This applies to enterprises with capitalization of P3 million and below, Memoria said.No business tax will be collected from them for 2022, provided that they register with the Department of Trade and Industry or the LGU under the Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (Bambe) Law.They are also encouraged to re-apply as new registrants for the current year, she said.Those who already settled their 2022 business tax, on the other hand, do not have to pay them next year, again, as long as they complied with the Bambe Law registration, the city treasurer added.But she made it clear that a mayor’s permit and other dues, such as those for the Office of the Building Officer, garbage, health inspection, environment, clearances and fire safety, are considered mandatory fees and cannot be waived as these are stipulated in the revenue code.Memoria reiterated that old businesses with arrearages, who want to register for 2022, will be allowed to settle their back dues, penalties or surcharges for the mayor’s permit and other mandatory fees on installment basis.Moreover, tax holidays for a maximum of five years may also be granted by the City Government to qualified businesses based on Department of Finance guidelines. (PR)