By AZALEA AZUAR / Pic TMR
AMBANK Group and Sabah Development Bank Bhd (SDB) are offering RM100 million worth of financing to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sabah weather the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative is part of the Sabah SME Guarantee Scheme, a financing facility designed with the primary objective of providing working capital, exclusively for SMEs in the state.
AmBank group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir (picture) said the facility will be made available in the first quarter of 2021, on a first-come, first-served basis.
He said through this joint initiative, AmBank and SDB are offering financing of up to RM1 million to each borrower.
AmBank will provide the funding, while SDB will act as guarantor for a certain amount of the financing issued.
“This strategic partnership between AmBank and SDB reaffirms our shared commitment to nurture and promote the growth of SMEs,” he told reporters during the virtual signing ceremony yesterday.
Sulaiman also mentioned that SMEs are crucial in forming the nation’s economy and there are more than 50,000 SMEs in Sabah alone which spread across different sectors.
“Many SMEs are affected by the pandemic, especially with the lockdowns imposed to reduce the spread of the virus. To ensure that they are not left behind, SMEs continue to operate during these tough times. We, AmBank and SDB, want to provide them with financial assistance to breach their cashflow requirements,” he said.
Sulaiman hopes that the assistance offered will reach to the much deserved SMEs, as well as allow them some reprieve and help them go through this very challenging environment.
Apart from financing, AmBank has also helped SMEs grow via its education and knowledge sharing sessions.
The group formed the AmBank BizCLUB programme, which has successfully garnered close to 7,000 members.
“For this season, we have three tracks: IR 4.0, digitalisation which is very handy during the pandemic, and halal quest.
“As part of the Biz Race, we created strategic partnerships with government agencies such as Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and leading organisations like Maxis Bhd and Robert Bosch Sdn Bhd, to name a few, to help SMEs on their journey to digitalisation,” Sulaiman explained.
AmBank’s customers undergo a series of training with necessary coaching and guidance.
To date, AmBank managed to reach out to more than 30,000 individuals and businesses in offering them relief and recovery financial assistance, which amounted to more than RM17 billion.