By Alverdtekoster & Lee Shaw Wei
SAMARAHAN: Small and medium entrepreneurs (SME) accounted for 95.8 per cent of the country’s economy.
According to International Trade and Investment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, the business community here played its role in providing various job opportunities, generating incomes as well as contributing to the economy.
The United Nation (UN) recognises the SMEs’ role and has declared June 27 as International Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Day in 2017.
He noted that SMEs accounted for more than 95 per cent of the world’s economy.
Awang Tengah said this in his text of speech read by Deputy Minister for International Trade and Investment Datuk Dr Malcolm Musseh Lamoh at the Jom Regista Bisnes programme held at Dewan IAT, Integrated Agriculture Development Area (IADA), here today (July 13).
The Deputy Premier also said that through Sarawakku Sayang Assistance Package (BKSS) 2.0, Sarawak had approved an allocation of RM80.7 million for subsidy assistance to successful SMEs through the Special Assistance Fund (SRF) scheme, Targeted Assistance and Rehabilitation Facility (TRRF) and Generator Tourism Financing Scheme (PTF).
“To date, a total of 3,345 entrepreneurs have received subsidy benefits worth RM77 million.
“The Sarawak government is the only government in Malaysia that offers this interest-free subsidy,” he said.
Awang Tengah, who is also Natural Resources and Urban Development Minister, said the state government had allocated more than RM5.7 billion under the BKSS 1.0 to 8.0 to help the affected people, including SMEs.
According to him, through the Ministry of International Trade and Investment, there were several assistances offered through various schemes.
“Through the Sarawak Micro Credit Scheme (SKMS) so far, we have allocated assistance amounting to RM49.5 million involving 1,689 entrepreneurs and the Small and Medium Industry Loan Scheme (SPIKS) amounting to RM31.08 million involving a total of 417 entrepreneurs,” he said.
He also informed that the assistance under his ministry included the Graduates Towards Entrepreneurship Programme (Gerak), in the form of grants to graduates who are interested in getting involved in business.
To date, a total of 344 graduates have enjoyed this facility with a total value of RM3.16 million.
“It also involves Technical and Vocational Entrepreneurs (Ustev) which is an assistance in the form of grants for vocational and technical school leavers. To date, 513 entrepreneurs have benefited with a value of RM4.64 million.
“Under the Go Digital programme, there is grant assistance for entrepreneurs who want to get involved in online business or e-commerce.
“So far, 100 entrepreneurs have received assistance worth RM1 million,” he explained.