Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (EXIM Bank) welcomes the government’s move in the Budget 2021 to include measures which improve the access to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) financing in the budget.

EXIM Bank chairman Datuk Dr Feizal Mustapha said the bank thanks the government on the opportunity rendered to spearhead the access to financing initiative through the Jana Niaga Platform in ensuring the well-being of SMEs in the country.

“This targeted assistance will surely support them to continue operations, with an uninterrupted ability to supply to their customers,” he said in a statement.

Last Friday, the government introduced the National Supply Chain Finance Platform called Jana Niaga, set to assist the financial position of SMEs that supply to the government or government-linked companies (GLCs).

The platform is expected to benefit SMEs with cash flow issues due to long invoice payment periods and help them secure loans.

The RM300 million Jana Niaga initiative will be spearheaded by the bank to drive the said platform alongside several other financial institutions.

At start, the initiative will be implemented with Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd, and later extended to other government-linked companies, ministries and government agencies in the future.

In due course, the framework for the platform and other operational details will be revealed.

The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that while the Budget allowed breathing space for individuals, there were cracks and loopholes for the SMEs.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) senior fellow and Centre for Market Education CEO Dr Carmelo Ferlito was reported to say that the budget offered support for SMEs and wages for a limited time, but lacked any wider strategy for recovery.

Due to the lack of coverage on the region’s strategy and international borders, he said one should expect a flat gross domestic product (GDP) for the coming year.