SME contribution to GDP to grow 5%-5.5% this year


Ong: 'SMEs must proactively gear up themselves to take the leap forward into the international market arena by seizing various opportunities available offered by the Government and private sector.'

KUALA LUMPUR: The contribution of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by between 5% and 5.5% this year.

Second Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said this would be on the back of the country's GDP, which was projected to expand by between 4% and 4.5% in 2016.

He said the downward pressure on SME growth was expected to be alleviated by steady domestic demand and stable employment market.

"The Government will continue to promote consumption and tourism activities which are closely related to SME performance," he said at the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) SME Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

For next year, Ong said, SMEs could expect a better ecosystem for doing business following the formalisation of the SME Act and the emergence of alternative financing platform such as equity crowdfunding.

Other feel-good factors were the recently announced peer-to-peer lending platforms, corporate tax reduction and revision of the Bankruptcy Act, he said.

"With all these key incentives in place for 2017, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is enhanced and SMEs would be able to continue doing business as usual," he said.

Ong said 152 SME development programmes were implemented by 18 ministries and over 60 agencies with an allocation of RM7.34 billion.

SME Corp Malaysia, he said, received 52,336 applications for financial assistance, including matching grants and soft loans under its various programmes as at Sept 30, 2016. 

He said 40,446 applications valued at RM5.52 billion had been approved.

Ong urged SMEs to participate and leverage on the numerous programmes, initiatives and incentives provided by the ministry and its agencies as well as other government agencies and public-private partnership to help them propel their businesses to the next level.

"SMEs must proactively gear up themselves to take the leap forward into the international market arena by seizing various opportunities available offered by the Government and private sector," he said.

The one-day conference, organised by SME Corp and the FMM, discussed and analysed the Budget 2017 for SMEs, impact and opportunities of trade agreements for SMEs in regional trade.

The conference, themed "Beyond Economic Growth: SMEs Meeting Global Challenges", serves as an avenue for SMEs to better understand the current situation of Malaysia's economy and the SME industry. - Bernama
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