I attended today the Go Negosyo, Go Gobyerno event at PTTC where the President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo announced the launch of a livelihood lending facility for government employees. In her keynote speech, she explained that amounts will be made available by government financial institutions (GFIs) to qualified cooperatives and employee associations (should have been in existence for at least 2 years) who will be the ones to lend to individual regular/permanent government employees.
The President said that the maximum loanable amount is P150,000 and that the loan will be subject to interest rates at market level (likely to be more than 12% as the cooperatives and the employee associations will be getting the money from GFIs at this rate) payable in 2 years. It will be available only to regular permanent employees.
Too bad. First, almost everyone at our office is a contractual employee. Second, there is no employee association nor a cooperative existing there. Well, at least we are not going to be subject to the temptation of borrowing in the pretense of business. :) As one cooperative president correctly pointed out, the typical government employee usually borrows every where he can borrow. "Kung saan pwede umutang, uutang."
I for one felt that Go Negosyo should have focused first on informing government employees of the various types of micro-business that they can go into, as well as the trainings being provided by various government agencies. In fact, from the questions raised during the whole-day event, it was quite clear that government employees were craving for affordable livelihood trainings.
Now, if only the concerned agencies can provide weekend trainings for government employees at discounted fees, then probably this lending facility set up by the President will be put to good use.