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Govt ready to assist SMEs in resuming business activities

KOTA KINABALU (Aug 10): The government is ready to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including micro entrepreneurs in restarting their business activities to ensure that the country is on track to achieve its economic recovery target next year.

Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the ministry, together with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, SIRIM Bhd and the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) is ready to assist industries such as food and beverage, animal husbandry and automotive so that they will be able to contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

“We need these sectors to resume their activities because we want the nation’s economy to recover by next year, and right now we are on the right track towards ensuring that the target can be achieved.

“Bank Negara Malaysia has announced that the (economic) growth is a little slow this year, but if we are able to recover by 2021, international bodies such as the World Bank have said that Malaysia would be one of the earliest countries to record positive economic growth of between 6.3 percent and 7.5 percent,” he said.

Mohamed Azmin said this to reporters after his meeting with Bumiputera entrepreneurs in conjunction with his working visit to Sabah here yesterday.

He said the meeting was held to discuss the challenges faced by the SME entrepreneurs in resuming their business activities after the implementation of the Movement Control Order in March.

The minister said the reopening of the economic sectors which started in May managed to reduce the unemployment rate from about 860,000 to 773,000 in June.

“As such, I hope that the SMEs and the micro enterprises will resume their business activities as soon as possible, and the ministry will assist via several initiatives to boost the SMEs’ productivity,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Azmin said in a media statement that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and its agencies would continue to ensure dynamic growth for Bumiputera SMEs in Sabah involved in the manufacturing sector.

Industries owned by women also have prospects to enhance Sabah's economic growth.

He said MITI would assist in providing facilitation in the form of capacity building, tax reduction incentive for automation, as well as business matching programme with foreign importers.

Mohamed Azmin who led a MITI delegation to Sabah met some 100 participants comprising SMEs in various sectors, including food and beverage, agriculture, automotive, oil and gas, and tourism.

Among the programme information shared during the engagement sessions were Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment, Industry4WRD Business Intervention, Local Strategic Investment Fund, Accelerated Capital Allowance, eBizMatch programme, eTRADE, and Market Development Grant. 

Mohamed Azmin said Bumiputera SMEs in Sabah must quickly take steps to revive their business operations which were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sabah SMEs must capitalise on the programmes provided by MITI so as to restore their productivity activities such as before COVID-19.

"This is important to ensure that the benefits from the National Economic Recovery Plan's (PENJANA) stimulus package will provide business continuity and that the main operational issues such as cash flow and worker placement can be addressed," he said.

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