Bumiputera Relief Financing to benefit 1,000 businesses

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE Bumiputera Relief Financing (BRF) initiative, a Covid-19 relief fund distributed by Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB), is expected to benefit about 1,000 entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

PUNB chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar (picture) said the agency will expedite the approval process to three weeks to allow entrepreneurs to fully benefit from the financing assistance and sustain their businesses.

“Under the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana), PUNB will distribute RM200 million to parties who are affected by Covid-19.

“If the submission complies with our requirements, it can be approved and distributed within three weeks from the submission date in order to speed up the recovery process for these Bumiputera businesses,” he said at a press conference on the BRF in Shah Alam, Selangor, yesterday.

The BRF is a RM200 million relief initiative provided by the Ministry of Finance through Penjana, offering between RM100,000 and RM1 million to Bumiputera entrepreneurs and businesses.

It aims to ensure the recovery and sustainability of Bumiputera entrepreneurs to adopt to new business models suitable to the norms of the present market and environment.

Currently, businesses with a 70% effective Bumiputera shareholding and minimum annual sales turnover of RM300,000 are eligible to apply for the relief fund.

Qualified entrepreneurs will also be given a six-month moratorium for the financing to allow them to recover and stabilise their balance sheets.

Online submission for the financing assistance is now opened.

The funds will be received in the form of working capital, system automation and equipment, and operating expenses, whereby the disbursement will be made directly to the supplier or other related parties’ accounts as approved, as well as to the companies’ accounts.

Separately, PUNB CEO Izwan Zainuddin said the agency has distributed about 54.5% of the allocated financing under PUNB this year, excluding the amount approved under Penjana.

Up until August, it disbursed about RM120 million out of the RM220 million targeted for 2020.

“Under Budget 2020, the government approved an allocation of RM150 million for PUNB and we added about RM70 million of our internal funds to be disbursed,” Izwan said.

For the upcoming Budget 2021, Izwan said PUNB is seeking a higher allocation of RM200 million for next year.

Previously, Izwan said 385 companies are expected to be funded by the agency’s allocation for 2020.

Between January and May, PUNB disbursed RM58.8 million to 97 Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the country, with the bulk of approved financing at RM28.7 million for companies in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Another RM13 million was channelled to firms in the wholesale sector, while companies in the retail and distributive trade sector received RM12.8 million.