KUALA LUMPUR: SME Bank remains committed to provide the right support to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in addressing forthcoming challenges and seizing opportunities.
Group president and chief executive officer Datuk Wira Aria Putera Ismail said SME Bank foresees that the economy will continue growing in 2023 albeit at a moderating pace of 4-5 per cent, down from the eight per cent in 2022 as headwinds become more evident.
"Growth momentum is supported by still resilient domestic demand, tight labour market and the prospect of China's economic relaxation.
"The forecast is in line with the government's projection and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank," Aria said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Aria said despite the cautious business environment, MSMEs have indicated through the SME Bank's 2022 SME Sentiment Index that they are optimistic, resilient and ready to adapt to the current economic challenges.
Hence, guided by its SME Bank Future Modality strategic plan, the Bank shall position itself as the national champion to drive entrepreneurship and facilitate the growth of MSMEs.
"This aspiration can be achieved by creating, nurturing and supporting MSMEs development throughout their lifecycle and thus strengthening the sector's contribution towards the nation's economy," he said.
In 2023, SME Bank will continue to be an effective agent of change by advocating and promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) adoption among MSMEs.
This will be done through more sustainability-linked offerings with competitive rates such as High Tech and Green Facility (HTG), Low Carbon Transition Facility (LCTF), Young Entrepreneur Fund 2.0 (YEF 2.0) and IBS Promotion Fund 2.0 (IBS 2.0).
Through SME Bank Future Modality, SME Bank will be focusing on four pillars namely to be Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Entrepreneur Development through its training arm, Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn Bhd (CEDAR), advocating ESG adoption among MSMEs, strengthening digital ecosystem and offering niche products and services.
CEDAR will amplify its role through the development of Social Enterprises to achieve accreditation as well as coaching MSMEs to boost the adaptation of ESG in their business operations.
The SME Bank Future Modality strategic plan is aligned with Bank Negara Malaysia's Performance Measurement Framework (PMF).
PMF emphasises the importance of Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) incorporating additionalities as part of business operations to promote greater development outcomes and strengthening accountability as public institutions.