Govt focuses on policies to support businesses; banks will continue to help SMEs with repayment issues
By:Bernama
Date:
WhatsApp Image 2022-09-13 at 14.44.49

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision on whether or not to grant moratoriums to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is very much dependent on whether the banks think that the SMEs have repayment issues, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

However, the government can encourage policies that are helping and assisting the people, he said while expressing hope that banks and Bank Negara Malaysia will continue to support the SMEs and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) that are genuinely facing difficulties.

“I’m optimistic, together with Bank Negara, that our (economic) growth this year will even surpass our expectation, which is between 5.3 and 6.3 per cent.

“We are on a growth trajectory, the economy is growing so we need to support the companies that are still in need,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the Malaysian Banking Conference 2022 today.

Tengku Zafrul pointed out that Malaysia’s economy has been growing strongly so far, thanks to rising domestic consumption, a stronger export sector and better loan growth, among others, thus the measures taken during the pandemic-triggered economic crisis might not be the best solution for now.

He said limited resources should be used to help target groups, and blanket support might not be sustainable.

The minister noted that SMEs and MSMEs have received a lot of assistance from the government, such as financing with moratorium in Budget 2022 under the Semarak Niaga initiative.

In fact, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (Samenta) has been reported as saying that another loan moratorium will only exacerbate the SMEs’ problems.

Tengku Zafrul said the banks are starting to lend even more than the pre-pandemic level, adding that the banking sector’s net financing had grown by 4.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

“The disbursement has actually surpassed the pre-pandemic level, it went up to RM71 billion in the second quarter of 2022 compared to an average of RM57 billion during 2017-2019. So banks are still lending,” he said. – BERNAMA

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