KUCHING: Eligible companies are urged to provide the required documents to avoid further delays in the disbursement of the special one-off financial assistance of RM10,000 for active small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak under the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 7.0 package.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said to date, only 25 percent of the eligible SMEs had submitted their documents through the Sarawak Online Portal.
“Out of the 25 percent, 16 percent of the SMEs had fully complied with the documentation,” he said when officiating at the BKSS 7.0 symbolic handover ceremony at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today (Oct 14).
On Aug 4, he had announced under BKSS 7.0 the special one-off financial assistance of RM10,000 for active SMEs in Sarawak registered with Social Security Organisation (Socso), as an effort by the state government to help the business community, especially SMEs adversely affected by the pandemic.
“The government acknowledges that although the companies are not required to apply, for the sake of good governance and integrity, some information needs to be confirmed by the companies before the payment can be disbursed,” he said.
He said as this involved public funds, there must be a degree of accountability in the disbursement.
“That is why we have to get Socso to help us to ensure that the people who receive the assistance are genuine businesspersons.
“And for the government, we have to protect ourselves. There is a procedure to follow because whatever money we spend will be audited, so that is the reason why we would like the companies to give us the required information so it can be included in our database,” he explained.
Abang Johari said, for instance, to prove that the businesses are Sarawakian-owned companies, they were required to provide relevant supporting documents as evidence.
In addition, he said bank details were required to ensure that the assistance could be disbursed to the designated company’s bank account.
“There are nearly 30 percent of the eligible SMEs without bank details and some recipients had informed that they do not wish to deposit this financial assistance to their registered bank account with Socso,” he said.
He pointed out that all these processes required time and therefore there had been a delay in the disbursement of the first tranche of the payment which was scheduled for September this year.
“But what is important is the funds are disbursed after you have complied with the procedure,” he assured.
“The confirmation process is now progressing well and all the payments to the eligible SMEs will be completed by December this year,” he said.
He said the government is now actively strategising the action implementation plan for the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030.
Abang Johari said the Sarawak government is confident that with this transformation, the state would be able to grow its economy at an average of six to eight percent per year.
“In this respect, we aspire that SMEs will be able to contribute 30 percent to our Gross Domestic Product growth by 2030.
“The government will continue to develop entrepreneurship as a strategy to create equitable wealth through promoting a socially inclusive community. Hence, we will continue to enhance local industry ecosystems to empower and grow our SMEs,” he said.