THE government is set to launch the RM40 billion SemarakNiaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme today to help help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the the Covid-19 pandemic and create jobs.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said RM40 billion had been allocated for the programme through the 2022 Budget, which includes various forms of financing, such as equity injections and would be open to all businesses, from MSMEs to public- listed companies.
The allocation for the SemarakNiaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme in the 2022 Budget consists of RM1.8 billion in Micro Credit Loans, RM2.2 billion in Equity/Alternative Financing, RM14.2 billion in SME Soft Loans and RM22 billion in Guarantees through SJPP.
Ismail Sabri stressed that the government had never before provided such a sizable RM1.8 billion-funding with a moratorium feature of up to 12 months for the MSMEs.
He said the programme would also help businesses develop workers’ skills and enable reforms that would transition the country towards a sustainable economy, as well as achieving Digital Transformation and IR4.0.
The prime minister said the government would support MSMEs, which were the most affected by the pandemic, through financing schemes, such as direct loans or matching grants.
He said RM22 billion worth of guarantees by Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP), including RM2 billion for Bumiputeras, would facilitate SMEs’ application for new financing.
“The government, through relevant agencies, has crafted alternative financing and financing schemes for MSMEs and other affected businesses, allowing them to recover and generate revenue once more.
“Efforts towards digital enablement include grants for SME digitalisation and smart automation, matching grants to accelerate digital transformation as well as assistance for the gig economy players and start-ups to better navigate the world of commerce and business.”
“Most certainly, they will find it difficult to restart their business or continue operations, particularly if they have a large amount of debt or liabilities. Hence, SemarakNiaga not only supports businesses by providing working capital injections or financing, but also through equity injections or taking up shares or an equity stake in a company for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Taking up equity stake is a novel and innovative solution that has never been implemented before. The government is confident that this initiative will help the entrepreneurs to recover and move forward.
“We are also creating more jobs while restoring the livelihoods of Keluarga Malaysia,” Ismail Sabri said in a written reply to questions on the SemarakNiaga programme.
He added that the initiative was projected to reduce unemployment to less than four per cent by the year-end, noting that the Statistics Department and Bank Negara Malaysia’s recent announcements that the economy would grow by 3.1 per cent in 2021 as compared to a 5.6 per cent contraction in 2020 were a good sign.
He said the government was confident that job-creation and business-empowerment efforts in the 2022 Budget would contribute to this year’s projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of between 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent.
Ismail Sabri also called on all government agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies to collaborate with Putrajaya to execute the SemarakNiaga initiative.
Yesterday, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (SAMENTA) chairman Datuk William Ng had urged the government to prioritise the survival of SMEs in the current rough period brought about by the pandemic.
Ng had said that SMEs were facing a triple whammy of rising costs, labour challenges and an unstable political environment and that any hope of a full recovery to pre-pandemic level was an unrealistic illusion, until and unless the issues were resolved or substantially mitigated,
He also proposed several measures to accelerate the recovery for SMEs including letting the market dictate wages, speeding up the transition to market-led financing and re-opening the border immediately.
For more details of the SemarakNiaga programme, please visit the 2022 Budget portal at budget.mof.gov.my/manfaat/.