NAGA CITY--- The proposed 2021 budget of the Naga City government will focus more on health services rather than on infrastructure projects and other social services, a city councilor said.
Councilor Jose Perez, chairperson of committee on investments, business, trade and economic enterprises committee of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, said that next year’s expenditures for infrastructure and social services will be reduced, while the allocation for health services will be given priority.
“The funds for health services here shall not be reduced. Other services next year will be given up,” he said.
Perez said due to the pandemic, the annual budget for the next year will be affected.
Francisco Mendoza, Naga City budget officer, said that the city already suffered a revenue shortfall of some P200 million due to the adverse effects of the pandemic on business firms operating in the city.
Mendoza said the city’s tax collections were substantially affected due to the slump in sales of business establishments due to the coronavirus disease.
As a result of these poor business climate, Perez said that many business owners in the city have already sought from the city government some reliefs in the payment of business taxes, real estate taxes, rental rates and other taxes.
He said that in response that the city council has already passed an ordinance that waived rentals payments and other charges from merchants leaseholders of city operated enterprises like the Naga City People’s Mall and the Bicol Central Station during the period of the enhanced community quarantine.
For three weeks now, the leadership of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) is unable to provide Bicol Mail data on the number of its members’ businesses that were affected by the pandemic, their estimated amount of losses, and number of their employees who were laid off or whose services were terminated because of the Covid-19 situation.
The community employment program and city business stimulus package now assisting ordinary Nagueños and smalltime businessmen to lessen privation during Covid-19 crisis.
As this developed, the Naga City government has launched the Community Employment Program (CEP) aimed at providing employment to members of poor households.
According to Mendoza, some P10 million was allocated for the CEP out of savings of the city government.
He also said that the city government is providing small businessmen a zero interest loan package to help them survive the pandemic.
Mendoza said the allocated fund for this loan program is also P10 million.