Prihatin Plus eliminates interest for SME loans, adds another microcredit outlet

Danial Dzulkifly
People watching and listening to the prime minister’s live telecast in Kuala Lumpur on April 06, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced today that loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the previous Prihatin stimulus package will be interest-free.

In his announcement of an expanded Prihatin Plus package today, Muhyiddin also said that the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (Tekun Nasional) will also offer RM200 million in micro loans on top of the RM500 million already available through Bank Simpanan Nasional.

The prime minister said he received feedback from businesses about the previous measures, and has responded by eliminating the two per cent loan previously imposed on such loans.

“In addition to alleviating the financial burden of SMEs, the government will also take several initiatives to facilitate SMEs to fully benefit from all the announced benefits. Among the improvements to be implemented are:

“First, to abolish the two per cent interest rate to 0 per cent for the RM500 million Micro Credit Scheme under Bank Simpanan Nasional.

“The microloan scheme for micro-companies is also extended to Tekun Nasional with a maximum loan limit of RM10,000 per company at a 0 per cent interests rate. For this purpose, a fund of RM200 million was allocated,” he said.

Muhyiddin also announced a new Prihatin special grant worth RM2.1 billion for all eligible micro businesses.

“The government will provide a special grant of RM3,000 to each micro company that will benefit nearly 700,000 micro SMEs nationwide.

“The micro SMEs must be registered with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to enjoy this facility. The government will obtain a list of eligible micro SMEs from local authorities and the Companies Commission of Malaysia,’’ said Muhyiddin.

In the expanded Prihatin Plus stimulus package today, Putrajaya allocated an additional RM10 billion for SMEs, on top of the people-centric economic aid worth RM250 billion already announced on March 31.

The additional stimulus for businesses increased in the previous wage subsidy of RM5.9 billion to RM13.8 billion, which will benefit 4.8 million workers across the country.

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