The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) set up an exhibit showcasing local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) 2023 Global Policy Forum (GPF) last 12-15 September at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
MSMEs play a vital role in the Philippine economy. According to official government statistics in 2021, MSMEs account for 99.6% of the total number of business establishments in the country and 36% of the gross value added. It also generated 65% of the country’s total employment.
MSMEs are also strategically positioned to create backward and forward linkages in local communities, making them effective pathways to greater financial inclusion.
BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said the exhibit is part of the BSP’s efforts to highlight the role of MSMEs under the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2022-2028 which promotes inclusive growth and financial resilience. “The central bank continues to broaden and deepen the reach of financial inclusion to free people from poverty, better their lives, and give them financial resilience,” he added.
The exhibit drew more than 50 MSMEs from the agriculture and tourism sectors, as well as local artisans and designers.
The central bank mounted the exhibit in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism, Tourism Congress of the Philippines, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc., and other private sector partners.
“The exhibit highlights inclusivity, which is a key objective of the AFI Forum. It also supports improved MSME operations through digitalization, as most exhibitors accept payments through QR codes,” said BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The AFI GPF is an annual event that explores opportunities to develop and improve national financial inclusion strategies and policies. The forum theme this year is “Stability, Sustainability, and Inclusivity for Shared Prosperity.”
A longtime financial inclusion advocate, the BSP recognizes digitalization as a tool for financial inclusion. A key BSP program for digitalization and financial inclusion is the Paleng-QR Ph Plus, which promotes the use of digital payments in public markets, public transportation, and other business establishments across the country.
 PSA data as cited by DTI (2021)