More than RM3.9b available under BNM’s SME funds

There is no reason for SMEs to not get financial aid, according to the finance minister

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH

The government has denied claims of funds shortage for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to seek loans to expand their businesses, despite a challenging economic outlook.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said presently, the amount under Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Funds for SMEs stands at RM3.9 billion.

“We have been receiving complaints that the SMEs and micro enterprises are having a hard time to gain access to financial assistance and we have brought this issue to the attention of the central bank.

“According to BNM, there is a sufficient amount of funds ready to be utilised for SMEs. There is no reason for them to not get financial aid,” he said in Putrajaya yesterday.

Lim said there are other factors why applications are rejected, including the absence of collaterals. However, he said the central bank under the SME funds division is ready to assist applicants. Meanwhile, BNM assistant governor Abu Hassan Alshari Yahaya (picture) said small-sized firms and micro enterprises are urged to approach the central bank to resolve issues related to funding difficulties.

“SMEs are quick to jump to the conclusion and do not seek the appropriate medium to solve this matter as the real issues are sometimes more complicated than what they think.

“The real issues are related to business competitiveness, business fluctuation and human capital, and SMEs tend to overlook these matters as their goal is to only get access to financing.

“There are BNM funds allocated for SMEs which are being distributed through financial institutions and we want them to be able to get access to these funds,” he said.

Abu Hassan said as at July 2018, the available balance of BNM’s Funds for SMEs was RM3.9 billion, or 37.6% of the total fund size.

He said as at July this year, the central bank has approved a total of RM30.9 billion to 78,818 accounts.