KUALA LUMPUR: The Gross Domestic Product for small and medium enterprises is expected to increase by between 6.5% and 7.5% next year, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
This, said Najib, was due to the increase in allocation for the SMEs under Budget 2018.
“The RM22.2bil allocation for SME development programmes saw a clear increase compared to previous years.
“Continuous support by the Government is important in developing SMEs via credit financing allocation, capital guarantee scheme, easy loans, grants as well as tax exemption for various activities and products,” he said when chairing the 23rd National SME Development Council meeting at SME Corp Malaysia here yesterday.
The meeting was attended by 16 ministers and deputy ministers.
Najib also said that 1,997 SMEs were ready to export via the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) platform that was launched recently.
“Through the existence of the world’s first DFTZ, the export of SMEs is expected to increase to as much as US$38bil (RM155.2bil), creating 60,000 new jobs by 2025,” he said.
After the meeting, he launched SME Central Incentives System (Scenic), an online initiative.
A centralised database of beneficiaries of Government assistance, Scenic will serve as a referral to avoid duplication as well as to optimise resources.
“Through this initiative, I hope that every ministry and agency will avoid overlapping of aid given to SMEs as well as ensure the optimisation of resources,” said Najib.
The meeting also heard that according to a third quarter survey, conducted by SME Corp Malaysia, SMEs were looking forward to an improvement in their business in the near term despite having to face the pressure of rising costs.
In a statement, SME Corp Malaysia said some of the issues would be resolved under Budget 2018 by addressing the current requirements of SMEs.
“The RM22.2bil allocation will address the specific, multi-faceted requirements of SMEs, including export promotion, financing, entrepreneurship as well as sector-specific needs in transportation, green technology, tourism, and the halal and the creative industries.”
Later, in his keynote address at the Economic Times Asian Business Leaders Conclave 2017, Najib said Malaysia was India’s gateway to Asean and beyond.
“When we conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), both our countries will be part of an era that contains nearly 50% of the world’s population and account for nearly 40% of global trade.
“So, both our countries are not just prepared but also determined to take Asia to the globe,” he said.
Malaysia and India, he said, shared a belief in confronting tough decisions such as implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“We have joined over 160 countries implementing this effective, efficient, transparent and business-friendly tax and we have seen its benefits.
“It provided us with the resilience necessary to cope with the steep fall in the price of oil and the subsequent drop in our revenue.
“I struggle to think what would happen to the Malaysian economy had we not introduced GST,” said Najib, who later presented the “The Economic Times Most Influential Business Leaders in Asia” awards to several corporate figures, including AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
The Economic Times is a business newspaper based in India.