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Media Statement by En Aria Putera Ismail, Group President / Chief Executive Officer, SME Bank on the 2021 Budget Announcement

KUALA LUMPUR : 20 November 2020

SME Bank welcomes the 2021 Budget, themed, “TEGUH KITA, MENANG BERSAMA,” tabled by YB Minister of Finance and sees an overwhelming opportunity to provide further support for the recovery set to begin by end of this year particularly through the allocations to all sectors and people from all levels. The Malaysian economy is projected to rebound between 6.5% and 7.5% in 2021, supported by strong economic fundamentals and well-diversified economy together with the injection from the budget.

The norms during tough economic times will see less spending is preferred. However, extra ordinary times require extra ordinary measures and we see the government has taken the bold move to ensure the economy will grow with the biggest expansionary budget of RM322.5 billion.

For SME Bank, we are honored to be given the opportunity to manage the Skim Lestari Bumi fund amounting RM300mill. The Skim Lestari Bumi will see SME Bank targeting the micro and small business operators to upscale their establishments and ensuring they remain sustainable, resilient and bold in facing market challenges. SME Bank is also fully ready to support the government to revitalise the economy by transforming the SMEs to embrace digital technology, accept the new norms and ultimately contribute toward achieving economic prosperity.

In addition to the newly announced Skim Lestari Bumi, SME Bank continues supporting the SMEs to ensure they are fully prepared with strong cash flow in this challenging economic environment. The government, through PENJANA has also entrusted SME Bank to manage three funds namely the SME Technology Transformation Fund, Penjana Tourism Fund and the Government Guarantee Schemes. SME Bank has approved financing worth RM246 million for these three funds since its introduction in June 2020.

Through SME Bank’s structured intervention programs such as the Skim Anjakan Usahawan (SAU) or i-Smart and Business Exports Program (BEP), SMEs are nurtured and empowered to level up their business as well as to venture into the global market. As at 3 Nov 2020, 12 SMEs have been listed under the BEP while 30 SMEs under the SAU program.