Lifeline for SMEs


In presenting the 46th Inter-Agencies Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit (Laksana) report yesterday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the total allocation of RM2bil under this scheme prioritised SMEs that did not receive loans from banks previously.

PETALING JAYA: The government has approved 7,205 applications with a total loan value of RM1.36bil under the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Financing scheme as at March 12,2021 compared with RM1.334bil last week.

In presenting the 46th Inter-Agencies Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit (Laksana) report yesterday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the total allocation of RM2bil under this scheme prioritised SMEs that did not receive loans from banks previously.

In terms of SME soft loans and funds administered by Bank Negara, Tengku Zafrul said the total number of applications approved by local banks and accepted by SMEs as at March 12 stood at RM11.75bil, benefitting 24,819 SMEs.

“This amount includes Special Relief Facility (SRF), Automation and Digitalisation Facility (ADF), All-Economic Sector Facility (AES) and Agrofood Facility (AF) funds.

“Although the SRF funds have been fully utilised, SMEs can still apply for other funding schemes under the Bank Negara funds such as ADF, AES and AF.”

Meanwhile, the Bumiputera Relief Financing (BRF), which was introduced by Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd with an allocation of RM200mil, saw 670 SMEs receiving funding amounting to RM193.1mil as at March 12, compared with 662 SMEs with a total of RM191.1mil in the previous week.

In terms of support for the agriculture and food Industry, Tengku Zafrul said funding worth RM400mil had been allocated for farmers and fishermen.

“Under this scheme, RM350mil is an allocation under the Agrobank Microcredit Financing Scheme.

“A total of RM107.23mil has been channelled under this scheme to benefit 9,400 agricultural micro SMEs, compared with RM85.05mil for 7,723 agricultural micro SMEs in the previous week.”

For the Wage Subsidy Progamme (PSU) 1.0, as at its closing date on Feb 26,2021, a total of 322,177 employers and 2.64 million employees have received PSU benefits under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) and Penjana.

“As of March 12, the approved wage subsidy applications have reached a value of RM12.84bil, ” said Tengku Zafrul.

For the Wage Subsidy Programme (PSU 2.0) under the Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (Kita Prihatin), he said a total of RM1.09bil had been channelled to 72,531 employers as at March 12, to enable them to continue operating and retain the jobs of 619,821 employees.

Additionally, Tengku Zafrul said the Reskilling and Upskilling Programmes were also showing encouraging results.

“As of March 12, a total of 137,075 participants had been approved (compared with 137,028 in the previous week) to participate in the programmes provided.”

Tengku Zafrul also reiterated that the statutory debt limit had yet to exceed the 60% ceiling, adding that the total debt for the three government-issued instruments at end-December 2020 is 58% of gross domestic product (GDP).

“As at end-February 2021, this total debt was 54% of GDP and is expected to reach 58.5% by the end of this year. Hence, it will still not exceed the statutory debt limit of 60%, ” he said.

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