The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for the full resumption of economic activities as the lockdown extension may worsen business woes and render recovery plan more difficult even with fiscal support.
Businessmen said the 16.5-percent contraction of the gross domestic product in the second quarter sent a strong signal to the government to accelerate the passage of stimulus measures and the full reopening of business activities.
“That we will go into a recession is no longer surprising. I had advised our members not to expect the second, and maybe even the third quarter numbers to be better unless government acts fast to adopt and implement stimulus packages and allow the full resumption of economic activities,” said PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico, in reaction to the negative second-quarter economic performance.
Yujuico said the extended lockdown took its toll on the economy and businesses would need substantial fiscal and non-fiscal support to survive and fully recover.
“We are struggling with our projections. We cannot do even medium-term planning because of COVID-19’s unpredictability. This situation could persist until such time that a vaccine becomes readily available. And we are looking at 2021 for this,” Yujuico said.
He said smaller enterprises were having cash flow and liquidity issues in paying taxes, compounded rents, loans and interest charges, utilities and manpower.
Yujuico said taking out loans might not even be an option anymore for MSMEs as the current situation taught them to be wary that it could only lead to a bigger debt.
PCCI expressed support for the P1.3-trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy bill. The national government, however, is pushing for the P140-billion Bayanihan to Recover as One Act as a more doable measure.
PCCI said other countries in the region allocated bigger budgets for recovery plan.
Indonesia, whose second-quarter GDP decelerated by 5.32 percent, has a stimulus package amounting to $47.6 billion; Thailand, $9.7 billion; and Vietnam, $7.6 billion, it said.