MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY— The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) with its newly-elected president Charles Kenneth Co hopes for a more competitive Cebu and is very optimistic that the business community here can recover well from all the challenges and adversities that negatively affected the economic performance of the business sector during the pandemic, typhoon Odette and now with the escalating oil prices in the global market due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
In a mini press conference Friday, March 11 at Golden Prince Hotel & Suites, Co said that reviving Cebu’s economy means reviving the business sector by promoting Cebu as a major investment gateway in Asia Pacific.
“We need to make Cebu the most competitive place in the country for more investments, more economic opportunities and one of our major thrusts is to help the business sector here recover, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that comprise 80 percent of the business sector,” Co said.
To achieve this goal, Co presented his 6-point leadership agenda foremost of which is to assist the business community here in the recovery, especially those members struggling from the impact of the pandemic, typhoon Odette and other challenges.
Co bared that ongoing talks between CCCI and the Cebu City government are geared towards the plan of putting up the Cebu Investment Center, a one-stop-shop for business to thrive, where business can be assisted in all aspects and processes of doing business in Cebu.
Newly elected CCCI President Charles Kenneth Co
The Chamber continuously ventures into an enabling business environment to be more competitive through helping and upskilling workers with trainings and education for them to become job-ready and a competent workforce.
“We, at the CCCI have conducted series of business trainings to people and workers to engage in business and we encourage them to be entrepreneurs,” Co stated.
CCCI has also managed to improve government-industry-academe collaboration; industry-driven assessment, certification and accreditation services because these enable business to be more and more competitive.
According to Co, CCCI will continue to mobilize champions to pursue its advocacy policies, programs and practices focusing on the ease and lower cost of doing business, infrastructure and logistics for more sustainable value chains.
He cited CCCI’s continuing advocacy against high cost of power/electricity in Cebu, he added that the Chamber and the power utilities in Cebu hve been meeting to discuss on how to mitigate expected power hikes due to oil price increases as an aftermath of the pandemic, typhoon Odette and now, the Ukraine-Russia war.
Fifth on his leadership agenda is to leverage government support, grants, subsidies and other financial programs to revive, repurpose and strengthen the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) especially those in the food, fish, tourism industry; creative entertainment and design sector; the ICT-BPM, trade and e-commerce; infrastructure, ship building, manufacturing including the start-up businesses.
“I am still very optimistic that Cebu can recover well from all the challenges as seen from its resiliency especially after the onslaught of typhoon Odette, Cebu was able to survive and got back on its feet barely a month after Odette,” Co said.
In his concluding statement, Co said that the next 12 months or more are mostly hard work for the business community to ease the transition to a safer and healthier Cebu by strengthening public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder commitment to address all kinds of threat to the communities.