KUALA LUMPUR: The state-backed Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Berhad (SJPP) is launching two new guarantee schemes worth RM1.5 billion for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) this year.

Wholly owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated, SJPP currently runs four guarantee schemes worth RM20.5 billion and approved RM5.8 billion worth of financing for 4,948 SMEs last year.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the two new schemes today as part of Budget 2020 which was tabled last year.

The RM1 billion Working Capital Guarantee Scheme for exports is aimed at encouraging Malaysian SMEs to expand abroad while the second is a RM500 million Working Capital Guarantee Scheme for women entrepreneurs – a first by SJPP.

“With the official launching of the enhanced guarantee schemes, I hope SJPP can raise its performance and help more credible SMEs interested in upgrading itself to gain better access to financing,” said Lim in his speech at the launch of the schemes at a hotel here today.

Lim also announced initiatives to further reduce the cost of financing for SMEs by increasing the guarantee coverage for the Working Capital Guarantee Scheme – Bumiputera from 70% to 80%.

The Automation Process Guarantee Scheme, which is open to all SMEs investing in digitalisation and automation, has also been raised from 70% to 80%.

Making up 98.5% of total businesses in Malaysia, SMEs contributed 38.3% to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 and employed 65% of the workers in the country.