KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Muamalat Malaysia has allocated RM10 mil to provide financing facilities for 200 SMEs – particularly those in the manufacturing-related services sector – under the SIRIM-Fraunhofer Programme.

Bank Muamalat’s business banking division head Nor Hamidah Abu Bakar said by partnering with SIRIM, the bank can fulfil the financial needs of SMEs and help them improve their productivity through the use of technology to stay competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) era.

“The programme will provide eligible SMEs with grants based on a 80:20 principle – 80% in grants from SIRIM with the bank providing financing facility for 20%,” she said at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) document exchange ceremony between Bank Muamalat and SIRIM Bhd here today.

Nor Hamidah said the maximum financing facility is RM50,000 per SME while the grant is up to RM200,000 per SME, which will be channelled in the form of machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, SIRIM Industrial Reseach vice president Ir Dr Mohamad Jamil Sulaiman said 681 companies participated in the SIRIM-Fraunhofer Programme from 2016 to 2019, adapting the approach of the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany which has been very successful in assisting companies in Europe.

“The companies have undergone a technology audit under the programme, conducted by qualified auditors comprising SIRIM researchers and engineers.

“It provides an avenue for companies to assess their technology management capabilities and understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as potential areas for improvement,” he added.

Mohamad Jamil said in the previous SIRIM-Fraunhofer Programme, SIRIM provided 80% grant while the SMEs needed to contribute 20% of the total project cost.

He added that SIRIM acknowledges that certain SMEs had difficulties in providing the 20% company contribution.

“Due to that, the approved project could not be implemented, preventing the SMEs from reaping the full advantages,” he said.

He said Bank Muamalat is the first institution to offer financial support to SMEs under this programme.

At the ceremony, Bank Muamalat was represented by Nor Hamidah and SIRIM by Mohamad Jamil.

Also present were Bank Muamalat CEO Khairul Kamarudin and SIRIM president and group chief executive Prof Ir Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani. – Jan 14, 2020 Bernama

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