Axiata starts initiative to help COVID-19 affected SMEs
As part of the company’s enduring CSR pledge, telecoms leader Axiata has committed to launch a RM150mn fund to help SMEs struggling from coronavirus disruption.
Intended as an immediately accessible source of cash to urgently assist companies experiencing severe financial pressure, Axiata’s press release notes that the fund has also received an initial contribution of RM20mn from the Malaysian Ministry of Finance.
The threat to micro-SMEs in particular has been made clear by the company: these small enterprises represent 50% of the total number of SMEs in Malaysia, yet, despite their economic importance, often have poor cash flow or minimal savings to fall back on.
Living in unprecedented times
"We are living in an unprecedented time where many of us are grappling with the rapidly evolving global crisis,” emphasised Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and CEO of Axiata.
“As our government and institutions battle on the hour to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus within our communities, corporate Malaysia is also rising to the fore to leverage on our resources and capabilities to alleviate the impact on businesses and communities.”
Believing that the window of opportunity to provide aid was brief, Ibrahim stated that all Malaysians should feel a national duty to do what they could to help each other through the worst aspects of the pandemic.
These were sentiments echoed by Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of Axiata Digital. "We are fortunate that our fully digital and shariah-compliant micro-financing Aspirasi platform can be quickly redeployed to help micro-SMEs in this current extremely challenging environment."
With the most fragile businesses now provided with a parachute to ease the stress of the current climate, Ibrahim was grateful to the government for its initial investment in the fund and hoped that business and local authorities could continue their partnership.
"I also welcome corporations to join us and be part of this program to make a meaningful difference in the livelihood of small businesses,” he concluded.