THE private sector is aiming for a stronger fourth quarter to prepare for an anticipated economic rebound next year through expanded vaccination, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion III said.
Businesses plan to achieve this through “micro-herd immunity” or the full vaccination of employees at workspaces like office buildings, malls, and factories, as well as inoculation for the transport sector and in homes, he said at a virtual event on Monday.
Mr. Concepcion has been calling for incentives for businesses that aim for full vaccination of their work force against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
He supported upcoming stricter restrictions in the capital region under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“To protect the fourth quarter, we said let’s focus the lockdown in this month,” he said, noting higher consumer sending during the December holidays.
“Our objective for this year is to save the fourth quarter. This is a quarter whereby businesses do extremely well. This is a quarter where our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who are challenged in the first and second and third quarter can actually rebound.”
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said at the same event that the economy will again be affected by the ECQ, which he said could raise the number of small business closures.
“By imposing this ECQ, we can remove the possibility of an uncontrollable surge like what happened in our neighboring countries that claimed thousands of lives. But even as we do so, we assure businesses that we will allow the dominant portion of the production sector — from agriculture to industry and services — to continue to operate so that we can save jobs and income,” he said.
Various firms at the event expressed support for the Tatak Matatag na Negosyo movement, where government and the private sector assist micro-retailers improve their access to financing, automated wholesale links, and retailer business skills development. — Jenina P. Ibanez