KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd, together with its subsidiaries Celcom Axiata Bhd, edotco Group and Axiata Digital, launched a RM150 million cash fund to provide financial assistance to micro-SMEs (MSMEs).
Axiata's Covid-19 Assistance Program include an initial contribution of RM20 million from the Ministry of Finance.
In continuing to play its role as partner in national development, the group will offer shariah compliant micro-financing through its subsidiary Axiata Digital, riding on the latter’s Aspirasi digital platform, in the range of RM1,000 to RM10,000 and on favourable terms.
It said this is targeted to benefit an estimate of 150,000 MSMEs within Boost, Aspirasi and Celcom ecosystem, as well as within other ecosystems including its e-commerce and FMCG partners and potentially other telcos and e-wallets.
Interest and payment terms include suspended repayment requirements and concessional interest rates.
In addition, Axiata’s Covid-19 Assistance Program will also bundle micro-insurance coverage under Aspirasi to protect MSME proprietors and merchants with emergency income, accidental death and Covid-19 assistance.
Axiata said by leveraging Aspirasi’s advanced digital technology, MSMEs will only be required to undergo a quick three-minute online process and if approved, funding will be made available in 48 hours from their bank accounts.
Axiata and its group of Malaysian companies in the past number of years have been building a strong base of MSMEs within its ecosystem.
For instance, Celcom has an extensive footprint of 75,000 SME customers, dealers and merchants with heavy rural and East Malaysia presence, Boost has 150,000 merchants on-board to date and Aspirasi has distributed over RM60 million in micro-financing to date across Malaysia and Indonesia.
Axiata president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said as the government and institutions battle on the hour to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus within the communities, corporate Malaysia is also rising to the fore to leverage on their resources and capabilities to alleviate the impact on businesses and communities.
“We have a very tight window to cast a lifeline to quickly get them back on their feet in order to weather and recover from the pandemic.
“Banks are playing their important role to provide relief for affected SMEs. However, we also need to address the requirements of hundreds of thousands of smaller SMEs that may not meet the standard criteria for bank loans.
“We have a national duty to contribute whatever we can to help as fast and as much as we can. This micro lending RM150 million cash program is one area we can assist in our own small way, quickly and efficiently,” he said.
For more information about the program, please visit www.aspirasi.co.