PUNB aims to expedite loan approval process to 3 weeks

This is to enable entrepreneurs affected by Covid-19 to receive the benefits and sustain their businesses

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR/ pic by BERNAMA

PERBADANAN Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) aims to expedite its approval process for financing under the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan from three months to three weeks.

New PUNB chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar (picture) said he will ensure the process and approval periods are shortened to enable entrepreneurs affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to receive the benefits and sustain their businesses.

Depending on the size of a company, he said PUNB can provide financing between RM100,000 and RM1 million.

“The shortened period is for entrepreneurs under PUNB, and procedures need to be reviewed as these cannot be the same for new applications,” he told reporters after chairman duties handover ceremony in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Noh received the handover of duties as PUNB’s sixth chairman from Datuk Hazimah Zainuddin.

His appointment ends weeks of speculations on whether he will be appointed to the post after resigning as the chairman of MISC Bhd last month.

Last month, the government through PUNB provided an allocation of RM200 million, also to help entrepreneurs affected by Covid-19.

Known as the Bumiputera Easy Financing, the assistance received is in the form of working capital, operating expenses and system automation, in an effort to empower Bumiputera involvement and the sustainability of their businesses.

“For the annual allocation, the usual rules can be maintained, but for those who just want to apply for funding, the procedure might be a tad bit stringent.

“Regardless, existing PUNB entrepreneurs who have been and are affected by the pandemic, assistance needs to be expedited,” Noh added.

Noh noted that he had made several plans as the lead of PUNB, specifically to empower Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Among them is the encouragement for entrepreneurs to own their business properties through the concept of Rent-to-Own as opposed to renting premises owned by others.

“I think this is important and is in line with PUNB’s goal to help successful entrepreneurs own a property.

“There are some schemes that I would need to look into, but basically, I want to find a way so that these entrepreneurs can eventually own the building where he/she rents,” he added.

The group had earlier shared that it aims to invest some RM220 million in 385 companies this year.

Within the first five month of this year, it has funded a sum of RM58.8 million for 97 Bumiputera entrepreneurs nationwide with the highest amount of financing approved at RM28.7 million for the manufacturing, engineering and services sectors.

The rest of investments went to the wholesale sector (RM13 million), and the retail and distributive trade sector (RM12.8 million).

Since PUNB’s establishment in 1991, it has helped 11,166 Bumiputeras venture into a wide and varied range of businesses through 7,836 companies with total investments approved of RM3.2 billion.

Previously focused on financing small and medium enterprises in the manufacturing, engineering and services sectors, PUNB expanded its financing to businesses involved in retail, wholesale and distribution in 2000.

It has also simplified its financing requirement and now offers Shariah-compliant financing assistance from RM100,000 to the maximum of RM10 million with longer financing tenure of up to 10 years from 2019.

The agency, which is wholly owned by Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra, approved RM204.4 million worth of financing to 542 entrepreneurs from 354 companies last year.