Business chambers thank govt for additional aid

KUCHING: The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS) has welcomed the additional RM141.7 million of additional financial assistance and initiatives provided by the state government under the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 5.0 package.

“ACCCIS is grateful that the Sarawak government has heard the voices and responded to the concerns of the businesses community, in particular the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), pertaining to their hardships and the impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 4).

ACCCIS urged its members to grab this opportunity to apply for financial assistance through the Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility (TRRF), a financing facility made available by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to provide relief and support for SMEs in the services sector (except the tourism and the tourism-related subsectors) affected by reintroduction of containment measures since June last year.

It particularly encouraged their members who had missed out on the opportunities of securing any financing facilities made available through the commercial banks by BNM previously under the Special Relief Fund (SRF) to take this opportunity.

“The TRRF applications are also extended to those SMEs not eligible for SRF, Penjana SME Financing (PSF), and/or Penjana Tourism Financing (PTF),” it said.

It pointed out that under the BKSS 5.0 additional financial aid, the state government would absorb the cost of interest for SMEs which qualified under TRRF for a duration of three and a half years.

“Hence, eligible and needy SMEs are encouraged to promptly apply for the loans directly from any of the participating financial institutions,” it said.

ACCCIS stressed that it was vital to safeguard SMEs against closure and winding up of their businesses, as this would result in massive retrenchments and loss of income for workers as well as hinder the recovery of the ailing economy.

The additional initiatives under BKSS 5.0,  announced by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan on Wednesday (Feb 3), comprised seven measures to assist SMEs in facing the challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.