Makati eyes P100,000 assistance to businesses
Makati Mayor Abby Binay is extending P100,000 in financial assistance to businesses in the city under a P2.5-billion economic relief program aimed to pump-prime the local economy during the pandemic.
The grant is part of a package of new programs unveiled by the mayor via Facebook Live.
Other programs include:
Setting the lowest possible tax rates for online sellers;
A “travel window” during curfew hours that would allow Makatizens more time to dine in restaurants and other food establishments;
Provide pooled testing for employees of private companies.
“These initiatives are intended to support businesses and ensure a safe environment for Makatizen consumers. We recognize the urgent need to help business owners recover in order to sustain their operations and retain their employees, which include city residents,” Mayor Abby said.
Under the Makati Assistance and Support to Businesses (MASB) Program, the city will extend grants ranging from P10,000 to P100,000 to registered businesses in the city, depending on the type of business and the number of Makatizens it currently employs.
The grant will be used to pay for salaries of employees, both Makati and non-Makati residents, and for payment for supplies.
The money will not be released to the employers, but directly to employees and to their Makati-based suppliers.
Recipients of the grant will not be required to pay back, provided that they comply with three conditions for the next two years: 1) They continue to operate; 2) They will not lay off any of the Makatizen employees; and 3) They will comply with the city’s ordinances and safety guidelines.
“This is not a loan, but financial aid aimed to help some 78,000 businesses registered in Makati. We will ensure an easy, fast and automatic process for the approval of grants under the program,” Mayor Abby said.
The mayor also revealed that to encourage the registration of 100 percent online businesses, she has endorsed to the City Council an ordinance that will provide the lowest local business tax rate allowed by the law for online sellers that do not have any physical store presence.
“I am calling on home-based enterprises – this is your chance to grow your online business by allowing the city to help you. Register, pay the lowest business tax and be recognized as a legitimate business entity,” Mayor Abby said.
“We will simplify the process and make it as contactless as possible,” she added.
In another strategic move to encourage brisk sales, the mayor said the city has created a “travel window” during curfew hours that will allow Makati residents coming from restaurants and food establishments in the city an extra hour to travel back to their residences, without violating the curfew. They just need to show a machine-generated BIR official receipt indicating that between 9pm to 10pm they patronized an establishment to be entitled to the travel window, she said.
“Businesses, especially restaurants, cannot survive with very limited operating hours,” Mayor Abby said.
Mayor Abby also said that the city government intends to tie up with other stakeholders to provide pooled testing for employees of private businesses at a minimal cost. If the city gets enough support from the private sector, the testing can be given free of charge, she added.
Earlier this month, the city started the pilot implementation of the pooled swab testing of some 6,000 frontliners of stores and markets as well as drivers of public utilities at the Makati Coliseum. Makati City has been chosen as the pilot testing site for Project Ark’s science-based, pooled swab testing method, which has been found to deliver faster test results for large groups of people.
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