Ahmad Maslan says the government placed great emphasis on the SME sector in Budget 2018 as it is one of the eight main pillars of economic growth. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
SUNGAI PETANI, Oct 28 ― Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should capitalise on various funds provided in Budget 2018 to expand their business, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said.
Describing the funds allocated for SMEs as the largest ever in the history of the country's budget, he said the government placed great emphasis on the SME sector in Budget 2018 as it is one of the eight main pillars of economic growth as they accounted for 98.5 per cent of all business entities in the country.
“I hope SMEs, especially that of Bumiputera, should seize the financing opportunities provided by the government without delay, do not wait,” he told reporters after visiting industrial knives and machine parts manufacturer Messer & Seagen Products Sdn Bhd here today.
Ahmad said SME investments were expected to contribute 25.5 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP) next year.
He said public sector investments were expected to reach RM109 billion in 2018 compared with RM75 billion in 2009.
Thanking Datuk Seri Najib Razak for giving recognition to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry through substantial allocations in Budget 2018, he said the Prime Minister wanted so see the country's economy continued to grow, with the SME sector being a main pillar to promote economic growth.
Ahmad said among the funds were RM200 million for SME Corporation Malaysia, RM82 million for the halal industry, RM500 million for the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun), and RM200 million for Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM).
“Funding totalling RM1 billion is also provided for automation to reduce dependency on foreign workers, and an additional RM1 billion for shariah-compliant SMEs eligible for a two per cent profit rebate.
“Another RM7 billion is allocated through the Business Financing Guarantee Scheme (SJPP), of which RM5 billion for working capital and RM2 billion for loans with 70 per cent government guarantees for the services sector, including the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0),” he said
Ahmad said the total allocation amounting to RM20 billion would cater to several criteria, including access to markets, financing for training, human capital, technology and automation, as well as working capital.
“However, there are further provisions for SMEs, which are provided through allocations to other ministries related to SMEs, for which 16 ministries are involved,” he said. ― Bernama