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BUDGET 2015 – CONTINUOUS SUPPORT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH OF SMES AND ENTREPRENEURS

The 2015 Budget, with the theme “Accelerating Growth, Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability, and Prospering the Rakyat”, is crucial not only to SME community but also to all Malaysians as it will be the final budget under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) for the 2010-2015 periods, which will shape the directions and strategies for Malaysia to achieve the high income status and advanced nation by year 2020.

The budget is broad-based and inclusive and should strengthen the long-term competitiveness of SMEs. Further measures are being taken to develop SMEs in all economic segments covering youth, women, farmers, smallholders, fishermen, petty traders and hawkers, and cooperatives. The High Impact Programmes of the SME Masterplan have been given additional funding especially to provide early stage financing and encourage innovation among SMEs. A total of RM11.4 billion has been allocated for SME development under the 2015 Budget excluding funding from the private sector.

For the SME Masterplan, a total of RM310 million has been allocated for the implementation of the High Impact Programmes. These include RM250 million for the SME Investment Partner (SIP) programme to enhance early stage financing for SMEs, and further reinforced by RM125 million from the private sector. RM10 million was also allocated to promote capacity building of SMEs. For High Impact Programme 2 ie Technology Commercialisation Platform (TCP), an additional allocation of RM50 million has been provided to promote innovation and commercialisation.

For research, development & commercialisation (R&D&C), a total of RM1.3 billion has been allocated under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to implement various high impact R&D&C including SME Technology Penetration and Upgrading Programme.

A total of RM110 million has been allocated for promotion of entrepreneurship among SMEs including RM50 million for Chinese entrepreneurs, RM30 million for hawkers and petty traders and another RM30 million for Indian women entrepreneurs under AIM.

To enhance financing for microenterprises, an additional RM500 million has been allocated under TEKUN to provide assistance to Bumiputera entrepreneurs (RM300 million) and young Indian entrepreneurs (RM50 million), young professional women entrepreneurs (RM50 million) and armed forces veteran entrepreneurs (RM 50 million). In addition, RM1.8 billion existing funds from Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) will be provided to Bumiputera women entrepreneurs. An additional RM30 million has been allocated under AIM for Indian women entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, there are also four other financing schemes announced in the Budget:

o RM150 million new Shariah-compliant Investment Account Platform (IAP) will attract institutional and individual investors to invest in the Islamic financial market to finance viable SMEs.

o RM200 million will be allocated by Lembaga Tabung Haji to Bank Islam for the establishment of the Shariah-compliant Restricted Investment Account (RIA) to provide financing of RM50,000 - RM1 million for Bumiputera SMEs.

o RM5 billion to establish the Services Sector Guarantee Scheme for SMEs in the services sector providing a maximum financing of RM5 million with 70% Government guarantee.

o RM300 million will be to re-introduce the Services Export Fund to encourage SMEs to conduct market feasibility studies and undertake export promotion.

For the agriculture sector, RM6.3 billion has allocated for initiatives focusing on strengthening the food supply chain, assisting smallholders to protect against losses from lower commodity prices, assisting fishermen to increase their catch and incomes, improving farm productivity and enhancing marketing channels.

On human capital development, RM300 million under a new scheme, i.e. Globally Recognised Industry and Professional Certification Programme or 1MalaysiaGRIP will be introduced to intensify upskilling and reskilling of manpower by PSMB. Also RM30 million has been allocated for technical training and education of Indian youth.

Towards enhancing productivity, an additional RM80 million will be allocated under the Soft Loan for Automation and Modernisation of SMEs through MIDF to encourage SMEs to automate and mechanise.

With the implementation of the GST, corporate tax rate of SMEs will be reduced in 2016 by 1 percentage point from 20% to 19% for the first RM500,000 of the taxable income.

Assessment

The 2015 Budget will continue to support the long-term agenda on SME development through the implementation of the SME Masterplan and other supporting initiatives. The focus is not only on existing SME businesses but also to encourage business formation through acculturation of entrepreneurship especially among the youth and women. The measures are also intended to raise the productivity of SMEs by encouraging the shift towards automation and mechanisation. Development of start-ups and emphasis on SMEs bringing innovation to market as well as enhancing access to early stage financing for SMEs should help towards building an ecosystem to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The Budget measures should achieve the goals of the SME Masterplan of raising productivity, increasing number of high growth and innovative firms as well as enhancing business formation.

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