SMEs need to increase halal exports activities


MALAYSIA should push more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be involved in the halal industry to tap into the multibillion-dollar global halal export market.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd’s SME banking head Rizal Yusof said local halal SMEs that are active in exporting their products currently only amounts to RM40 billion, whereas the global market stands at RM2.3 trillion.

“Malaysia should emphasise on efforts to produce more SMEs to get involved in the halal industry, as well as facilitating them in obtaining halal certificates to penetrate the export market,” he said in a webinar yesterday after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Bank Islam and SME Corp Malaysia.

He said, out of 987,000 SMEs in Malaysia, 7,000 SMEs are halal-certified this year. Of that figure, only 1,900 SMEs are doing exports.

Rizal said SMEs operating in a halal environment have a different set of environmental variables, which can promote success if the country is determined in building successful halal SMEs to compete globally.

“SMEs play a role in providing services to improve halal integrity along the supply chain that helps the growth of the halal ecosystem as a whole,” he added.

Under the MoU, both parties will provide relevant access for SMEs to participate in various events, training programmes, awards and other resources, as well as comprehensive financial products and services that will enhance their capabilities and capacity in today’s competitive market.

Bank Islam CEO Mohd Muazzam Mohamed (picture) said the collaboration would enable SMEs to enrol for the Shariah-compliant SME Financing Scheme (SSFS), which allows eligible customers to enjoy a 2% profit rebate with the various financing packages provided under SME banking.

“The government has allocated RM4 billion for SMEs who enrolled in the SSFS programme under SME Corp. Since the commencement of the financing scheme in 2013, Bank Islam has supported 121 SME customers with financing amounts totalling more than RM133 million so far,” Mohd Muazzam said yesterday.

Additionally, he said Bank Islam would assist eligible SMEs to participate in the Going Export Programme that aims to nurture and develop the industry players to be more competitive in the international arena and enable SMEs to adopt SME Corp’s rating model, the SME Competitiveness Rating for Enhancement, or SCORE.

The MoU enables SMEs to benefit from an improved capacity building through the Bumiputera Enterprise Enhancement Programme and they are eligible to participate in the Enterprise 50 Award programme by SME Corp.

The bank is also launching the SMEXpert mobile app soon, a digital initiative that supports the entire SME ecosystem with business and financial resources.