KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 30): The Association of Southeast Asian Nation Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) Malaysia has proposed the establishment of a regional small-medium-enterprises Bank (SME Bank).
Datuk Ramesh Kodammal who is Asean-BAC Malaysia council member, said it would be beneficial to SMEs if a regional SME Bank was set up with a credit rating recognised among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member countries.
“We are hoping that we can set up an SME bank within the Asean region to accommodate financing to these small enterprises, and easy access to finance.
"If we can find a formula where our credit rating within the Asean can be recognised in the Asean countries, this will help the SMEs to get financing within the Asean,” Ramesh said during a media briefing here today.
Ramesh did not elaborate more on the proposal.
The proposal comes at a time when Malaysia will take over the chairmanship of the Asean Economic Council (AEC) from Myanmar next month (November).
The Asean-BAC Malaysia pointed out that SMEs were the most important sector within Asean as 97% of businesses in the region comprised SMEs. However, many SMEs were unaware of benefits from the AEC and the Asean Free Trade Agreement(FTA) .
Ramesh attributed the lack of knowledge to the inadequate access to technology and information that would help SMEs.
On Malaysia's proposed goods and services tax (GST), Ramesh said its implementation could be a blessing in disguise to SMEs.
Speaking to TheEdge Markets.com on the sidelines, he said : “GST will have an advantage for traders who are importing.
"Basically speaking, if you are importing, you are paying GST, and parts of the goods that are exported, you can still claim back GST," he said.