Gov’t unveils ‘Smart’ program to digitize manufacturing sector

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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon M. Lopez has unveiled the Securing Manufacturing Revitalization and Transformation (Smart) program to business leaders and manufacturers present at the Manufacturing Summit 2019 held at Manila Peninsula Hotel, Makati City, early this December. 

DTI secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Speaking at the event, Lopez said the program’s objectives is aimed at revitalizing the manufacturing sector to continue its growth trajectory and help transition the industries to Industry 4.0.

He explained that the projects to be supported under the program would have to be performance-based, targeted, time-bound, and transparent.

“The Smart program will support the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, upgrading processes, upgrading products, upgrading services, and development of  new business models,” Lopez said.  “For this, we are proposing to spend P25 to P30 billion to support small, medium, and even large companies for a period of three years,” he furthered.

The program will support the industry through soft loans, grant vouchers, incentives (through the SIPP), standards, safeguard measures, fund support (similar to the CARS program), and reduction in trade barriers.

The following criteria will be considered in the selection of firms under the Smart program: 

  • Global Value Chain upgrading;
  • Social Benefits and externalities (EV: E-PUV, E-jeepneys, E-trikes, E-buses);
  • Adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies to catalyze manufacturing growth & the economy;
  • Innovation, R&D, commercialization of market-oriented research;
  • Emerging industries, clusters & activities that would address gaps in supply/value chains; and,
  • Industrial development in rural areas.

At present, DTI is eyeing the following programs for funding support under Smart:

  • The ECO-PUV Program – this includes the manufacture of jeepneys using both ICE and EV technology, parts and components of OEM platform and Eco-PUV body, and production volume and fixed investment support.
  • DTI-National Development Corporation Co-investment Program – this program identifies co-fund innovation projects to develop new products, new capabilities, provides funding assistance for developing and testing technology projects, and bestows Matching Grants.
  • EV Incentive Scheme (EVIS) Program – this program provides CARS-like incentives (fixed and production volume incentives) to electric vehicle production. Examples are E-jeepneys, buses, trikes, motorcycles.
  • Industrial Transformation Program – this program would provide support to companies that are shifting to Industry 4.0 technologies to improve productivity (digitalization, automation)

The Smart program supports the new flagship industrial strategy of the government as it is consistent with the Philippine Development Plan, the i3S (Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy), and the inclusive Filipinnovation and Entrepreneurship Roadmap.

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