Penjana able to assist SMEs in achieving quick recovery

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 3): The National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA), which was announced by the government in June to aid businesses affected by Covid-19, can help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in achieving business recovery. 

This is based on a survey conducted by SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) involving 982 respondents recently, which found that 17 per cent of SMEs were confident their business could recover within three months aided by PENJANA.

SME Corp chief executive officer Rizal Nainy said of the 40 initiatives under the short-term plan, 24 initiatives worth RM14.5 billion were viewed as being able to boost the activities of SMEs hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The majority of the 17 per cent of SMEs that expected to recover in the (three-month) period are from the food and beverage sector," he told a media conference on SMEs’ performance for 2019 here today.

Meanwhile, he said, 69% of the respondents, representing the textile, wholesale and retail sectors, believed their business could recover within three to 12 months.

For worst-hit SMEs in the tourism and related sectors, Rizal said they were projected to take more than a year to recover.

Meanwhile, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said among the key initiatives that had been introduced under PENJANA were financial assistance, loan moratorium period to ease pressure on cash flow, tax incentives and a Wage Subsidy Programme which helped to cushion the adverse impact and lend further impetus to SME growth.

“Moving forward, the economic repercussions arising from the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of Movement Control Order will definitely impact the performance of SMEs in 2020.

“According to data from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM), 4,542 companies ceased operations during the April 1-July 19, 2020 period. On the other hand, 82,555 new businesses were registered in the same period,” he said.

Hence, he said, the challenge now lay on the speed and agility of the SMEs in Malaysia to adopt differentiated strategies to survive in the new normal by embracing digitalisation for their business operations, developing a business continuity plan, as well as working closely with their financial institutions to manage cash positions.