Micro-financing unaffected in budget review

KUALA LUMPUR: There will be no budget cut for micro-financing in the recaliberated Budget 2016 to be presented on Jan 28, Finance Ministry under-secretary for strategic investment division, Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, said.

“We are in the midst of recalibrating the budget. We are probably not going to cut anything (for micro financing),” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Asean Microfinance Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

He said the Government has allocated more than RM200 million to support micro-financing in 2015 through various agencies including TEKUN Nasional and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia.

Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said micro-finance plays a critical role in the development and sustainability of small and medium enterprises as it addresses their lack of financing options.

He pointed out that a coordinated national and regional response is needed to strengthen the service delivery of micro-finance institutions to the underserved.

“To do so, we need a ‘people-centred’ micro-finance model that carries the hope for shared prosperity,” he said in his keynote address read by Ahmad Badri.

Mohd Irwan said to move forward, the Government needs to address challenges in micro-financing including limited financial literacy, inadequate micro-financing regulatory framework and insufficient infrastructure.

“Addressing these challenges calls for a new development model based on structural changes that ensure inclusiveness, resilience and sustainable development as a more integrated approach in micro-financing,” he added.

The one-day conference was organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute. – Bernama

Source: The Star Online. Date: 20 January, 2016.