DTI Seeks Early Release of ₱300-M Fund For Innovation Law
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is proposing the early release of at least 20% of the annual budget of a new law, Republic Act 11293 or the Philippine Innovation Act, to be used as revolving fund for the agency’s efforts next year in assisting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with helping the poor and marginalized through tech innovation.
During a conference on Inclusive Innovation at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on Monday, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez shared the agency’s request to the government to release the revolving budget, which amounts to at least ₱200-300 million from the ₱1 billion funds.
“The innovation fund is supposed to have ₱1 billion, but we are making an appeal to the Congress and the Senate as we deliberate on the budget [for next year] to include the revolving fund — it is in the law but was not covered yet in the budget as the new law was just recently signed when the 2020 budget was being deliberated,” said Trade Secretary Lopez.
The Philippine Innovation Act declares innovation as a vital component of national development and sustainable economic growth. The funds allocated for the law will be used to further this goal by supporting businesses and industries that are shifting into digital transformation and engaging in innovative activities.
The trade chief hopes that their request to allow the fund to start revolving next year will be taken into consideration. Otherwise, he said the fund will be deferred until 2021, effectively delaying the planned programs and projects for MSMEs.
Trade Secretary Lopez further added that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for both the Philippine Innovation Act and the Innovative Startup Act, another milestone law on innovation, are currently being finalized and are expected to be released to the public next month.
In the meantime, he shares that DTI is currently finalizing the incentives that will be made available to startups and establishing startup ecozones nationwide, pursuant to the provisions of the Innovative Startup Act.