By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Apr 11: The second “Sarawakku Sayang” economic aid package valued at RM1.1 billion to cushion the impact of Covid-19 which brought Sarawak to a near standstill will help in steering the state’s economy towards recovery.
Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industry Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais pointed out that the second aid package demonstrated a far-sighted state government that was concerned about the people and Sarawak’s future.
“All the assistance are well thought of despite many saying that it was done in a rush but in fact, they are all meant to put something in the rakyat’s pockets to encourage spending and so they can meet their daily needs especially to put food on the tables,” he said in a statement today.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced the second economic aid package to ease the burden of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), micro-enterprises, hawkers and petty traders amid the Covid-19 outbreak which has brought about the Movement Control Order (MCO).
The second aid package comprised of four measures, including interest-free soft loans for SMEs, a special grant of RM1,500 to hawkers and petty traders through Sarawak Pay, abolishing two per cent interest rates for three and a half years under Micro Credit Scheme, and rental waiver for retail SMEs in premises owned by state government-linked companies (GLCs).
“The measures in the package cover almost all sectors of businesses undertaken by some 62,000 registered SMEs and about 8,000 registered cottage industries, other than petty traders at the five-foot-way to those in tamus and markets as well as retailers and suppliers.
“They are for everybody involved either directly and indirectly in the supply chains of any business in the state,” Naroden emphasised.
Naroden pointed out that with consistent local spendings to activate the economy, this would, in turn, create local demand and then trigger production to resume operation.
“And logistics like lorries, vans and trucks can start mobilising to deliver all these good from rural areas down to towns and cities again.
“In other words, the entire supply chain will be able to start moving and functioning again, back to normal,” he said.
With the state’s economic aid package and supported by the federal government’s Prihatin stimulus package, Naroden was optimistic that it will help ease the burden of many companies and entrepreneurs.
“It will also ensure workers can keep their jobs and generate income while entrepreneurs whose business have been stalled will have some capital to restart their business.
“With all these efforts by both Perikatan Nasional-Gabungan Parti Sarawak (PN-GPS) government, Sarawak will be able to move towards recovery again,” he added.—DayakDaily