BUSINESSES in the sports industry affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can finally breathe easy as the Government coordinates various assistance initiatives through the Youth and Sports Ministry Prihatin Secretariat (Spike) to help them stay afloat.
Spike will be the dedicated secretariat to oversee the implementation of every initiative under the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa) and the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery (Pemulih) programmes as well as many other of the ministry’s own initiatives to give businesses in the sector a boost as the country progresses towards full recovery under the National Recovery Plan.
Among the ministry’s key initiatives to help industry players is the Prihatin Sports Industry Grant (GPIS) whereby some 6,000 operators in the sector will benefit from a one-off RM3,000 grant.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin earlier announced the grant in his special address on June 28, adding that the ministry had earlier presented the proposal to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz for a one-off grant to help industry players through tough times.
“I’m thankful that a commitment has been made under Pemulih to assist industry players and I hope all 6,000 operators in the industry will benefit from the grant,” he said, adding that RM18mil had been allocated for GPIS.
Applications for GPIS is now open and can be made through the GPIS website at gpis.kbs.gov.my
Reezal said Spike will also support sports facility operators – especially those in the small-and-medium size enterprise (SME) category – in applying for loan moratoriums by issuing supporting letters required by banks.
“I am certain the moratorium will be of help to business owners, especially sole proprietorship,” he said.
Meanwhile, improvements will be made to the Sports Industry Finance Scheme (SPIS) to better help micro-enterprises in the sports sector get back on their feet.
The scheme was created out of a RM20mil allocation in the 2021 Budget and it will be further boosted with an additional RM1.1bil under Pemulih.
The ministry will also collaborate with the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Ministry which will present a Cabinet paper to propose for a lower repayment rate for the scheme.
Applicants can expect to benefit from the new and improved scheme in August.
Reezal said the ministry is trying its best to support players in the sports industry as they struggle to stay afloat during hard times.
This industry is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and business owners were only able to generate earnings in a short period as the country continued to combat the disease.
“In the past 16 months fighting the pandemic, operators of gyms, fitness centres, badminton courts, bowling alleys, golf courses and many others were only able to open for three months. Staying closed mean no revenue could be generated.
“These are difficult times and we have gone through every report and desperate appeals made by operators. We hear you,” he said.
Reezal added that the ministry has committed to explore every space and avenue to find initiatives that could help industry players pull through difficult times.
“It is my sincere hope that operators, entrepreneurs and workers in the sports sector including caddies and maintenance personnel at sport arenas and commercial fields will directly benefit from initiatives drawn up by the government and the ministry,” he said.