Covid-19 affects growing number of SMEs, says Exec


A GROWING number of small to medium enterprises (SME) are seriously affected by the Covid-19 scare and are unable to do business due to the transport lockdown and ban on certain business activities.
People’s Micro Bank Ltd (PMBL) chief executive Anthony Dela Cruz told The National that SME activities in key centres of the country had rapidly declined as a result of the lockdown and enforcement of the social distancing.
He said PMBL was still operating on all working hours with Covid-19 preventive measures in place.
PMBL is a subsidiary of the National Development Bank.
“Most businesses have either temporarily closed their shops or are closing early during the day for lack of customers trading with them,” Cruz said.
Cruz said PMBL woul d provide relief to customers faced with depleted cash flows and falling sales resulting from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“PMBL will accommodate requests for a loan repayment holiday of up to three months,” he said, in line with the government’s request for financial institutions to delay loan repayments due to the crisis. “Depending on the severity of the hardships faced by customers, the request will be allowed on a case by case basis,” Cruz said.
“The repayment holiday simply means there shall be no payments of principal and interest for a three-month period and no penalty fees.
“Repayments will resume only after the three months deferral so that customers will have time to rebound back their economic activities and build up their cash flows that is more than adequate to pay their loan obligations.”
He said PMBL was yet to know about any stimulus package.
“We are yet to know if there are any other stimulus package or Government relief which the Government will extend to the SMEs and employed individuals.”
National Development Bank managing director Moses Liu also told The National yesterday that the impact of Covid-19 on the economy was fluid and was being carefully assessed.