Malaysia is an economy that is undergoing rapid transformation due to rapid digitization, industrialization, and globalization. The country is also prioritizing the development of its entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is crucial to its future growth. In order to facilitate this development, the government needs to provide adequate access to development financing for entrepreneurs. This article will provide an overview of the development financing landscape in Malaysia, the Malaysia Budget 2023, and the strategies that the government should take to increase accessibility to development financing.
Introduction to Development Financing in Malaysia
Development financing is critical for entrepreneurs to access the capital they need to start and grow their businesses. In Malaysia, the government has been providing development financing through a range of initiatives for decades. These include grants, loans, equity investments, and venture capital. The government has also been providing tax incentives to encourage businesses to invest in research and development, as well as to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
In addition, the government has established many major development financing institutions. These include the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad (MIDF), Agrobank, Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank (SME Banks). These institutions are among the many that are responsible for providing financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises.
The government has also set up the Rural Entrepreneurship Development Division (EDD) under the purview of the Ministry of Rural Development which is responsible for overseeing the development of the rural entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia. The REDD is tasked with creating and implementing policies that promote the growth of businesses. It also provides support to entrepreneurs in the form of access to financing, technical assistance, and mentoring.
Malaysia Budget 2023: A Focus on Development Financing
The Malaysian government recently announced the Malaysia Budget 2023. This budget focuses heavily on development financing for entrepreneurs, with a focus on SMEs and micro enterprises. The government has allocated RM35.6 billion to support the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia. This includes RM6.3 billion for the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, RM6.7 billion for venture capital, and RM3.3 billion for the SME Digital Transformation Fund.
In addition, the government has allocated RM2.2 billion for the development of the rural economy. This includes RM1.8 billion for the Rural Development Fund, RM100 million for the Rural Entrepreneurship Development Program, and RM100 million for the Rural Business Development Fund. These funds are aimed at providing financing to rural entrepreneurs who may not have access to traditional financing.
Overview of Entrepreneurship in Malaysia
Malaysia is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to the World Bank, there are currently over 2.5 million SMEs and micro enterprises in the country. These businesses account for over 90% of the country’s GDP and employ more than 8 million people.
However, despite the rapid growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, there are still many challenges facing entrepreneurs in Malaysia. These include a lack of access to financing, inadequate business infrastructure, and a lack of business support services. These challenges are particularly acute for rural entrepreneurs, who often lack access to the capital and resources they need to succeed.
Financing Strategies for SMEs and Micro Enterprises
In order to address the lack of access to financing for SMEs and micro enterprises, the government has implemented several financing strategies. These include Agrobank and SME Bank, which provides financing to businesses in the form of loans, grants, and equity investments. The banks also provide technical assistance and business advice to businesses.
In addition, the government has implemented several initiatives to encourage banks and other financial institutions to provide financing to SMEs and micro enterprises. These include the Credit Guarantee Scheme, which provides guarantees to banks and other financial institutions to cover up to 90% of the loans they provide to SMEs. The government has also introduced the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, which provides guarantees to financial institutions to cover up to 80% of the loans they provide to SMEs.
The Ministry of Finance’s Role in Development Financing
The Ministry of Finance is the primary government agency responsible for overseeing the development of the Malaysian economy. As part of its mandate, the Ministry is responsible for overseeing the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia.
The Ministry is responsible for developing policies and programs that promote the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia. This includes providing access to financing for entrepreneurs, developing a supportive business environment, and providing support to entrepreneurs. The Ministry is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Malaysia Budget 2023, which includes initiatives to promote the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Challenges Faced by Rural Entrepreneurs in Malaysia
Rural entrepreneurs in Malaysia face a number of challenges. These include a lack of access to financing, inadequate business infrastructure, and a lack of business support services. These challenges are compounded by the fact that rural entrepreneurs often lack the skills and resources needed to compete in the global economy.
In addition, rural entrepreneurs often lack access to the capital and resources needed to succeed. This can be exacerbated by the fact that rural entrepreneurs are often unable to access traditional financing sources due to a lack of collateral or credit history. As a result, rural entrepreneurs often face difficulty in securing financing for their businesses.
How to Increase Accessibility to Development Financing
In order to increase accessibility to development financing for entrepreneurs, the government should focus on developing more liberal financing policies. This could include expanding the scope and reach of the Credit Guarantee Scheme, increasing the loan limits of the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, and providing more guarantees to financial institutions that are willing to provide financing to SMEs and micro enterprises.
The government should also focus on increasing access to venture capital. This could include introducing tax incentives to encourage venture capitalists to invest in startups and providing grants to venture capitalists to support them in their investments.
In addition, the government should focus on improving the business infrastructure and providing more business support services to entrepreneurs. This could include providing technical assistance and mentoring to entrepreneurs and providing access to business training and workshops.
In this regards, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) have extensive penetration into rural areas. The government should enable more support to these two institutions to allow them expand their network wider and more inclusive. MARA, not only provides financing, but also a wide range of entrepreneur development assistance and mentoring programs.
How to Make Financing More Liberal
In order to make financing more liberal for entrepreneurs, the government should take steps to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses. This could include reducing the number of regulations that businesses must comply with and streamlining the process for accessing financing.
The government should also focus on developing more inclusive financing policies. This could include providing access to financing for entrepreneurs from marginalized communities, such as women, ethnic minorities, and rural entrepreneurs. The government should also focus on providing financing to businesses that are considered high-risk, such as those in the technology or energy sectors.
To achieve the above, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) is among the key institutions that can be the vehicle for more liberal financing. However, the risk will need to born by the government, especially the government’s role to ensure that government financing institutions play a counter-cyclical role in the economic downturn. The government should consider allocating expansionary budget for this institution.
Strategies to Mitigate Economic Downturn
The Malaysian government should also focus on developing strategies to mitigate the economic downturn. This could include providing tax incentives to businesses to encourage them to invest in research and development and providing grants and loans to businesses that are struggling due to the economic downturn.
In addition, the government should focus on developing strategies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. This could include providing access to financing for entrepreneurs and encouraging more investment in startups and emerging technologies through the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC). MTDC has been instrumental in improving the innovation and technology business environment by providing more business support services, mentoring to entrepreneurs as well as investing and guiding them to be public listed.
Some strategies employed by other countries include:
In conclusion, the Malaysian government has a key role to play in promoting the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia. The government needs to focus on providing access to financing for entrepreneurs, developing more liberal financing policies, and mitigating the economic downturn. In order to focus, deliver and implement the policies swiftly and efficiently, the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives should be the primary agency responsible for overseeing the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia. By doing so, the government can unlock the potential of the Malaysian economy and ensure that entrepreneurs have the resources they need to succeed.
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