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SME Committee welcomes CE's decision to inject $1.9 billion for four SME funding schemes


The following is issued on behalf of the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee:-

The Small and Medium Enterprises Committee (SMEC) welcomed and supported the Chief Executive's (CE) decision to accept all the 30 or so recommendations which the Committee put forward to him for consideration in June this year, and to provide additional funding to implement the four funding schemes (viz, the SME Business Installations and Equipment Loan Guarantee Scheme, the SME Export Marketing Fund, the SME Training Fund and the SME Development Fund) by increasing the total capital amount to be injected into the schemes from $1.3 billion as originally recommended by the Committee to $1.9 billion. The CE announced these decisions in his Policy Address today (October 10).

The Chairman of the SMEC, Mr. Chan Wing-kee, said, "The latest global economic downturn, which has been exacerbated by the terrorist attack on the United States, has weakened Hong Kong's exports. SMEs are in dire need of additional government support to help them overcome their pressing difficulties and to survive the economic hardship. The CE's decision will facilitate the early implementation of the various recommendations of the SMEC. Moreover, as a result of the decision to inject further funding into the four funding schemes, we estimate that the number of SMEs which will benefit from the SME Export Marketing Fund will increase from the original projection of at least 20,000 to at least 30,000. Consequentially, the total number of SMEs which stand to benefit under the four funding schemes will increase from the original projection of at least 96,600 to at least 106,600. Also, the maximum amount of guarantee each SME may obtain from the Government through the SME Business Installations and Equipment Loan Guarantee Scheme will be increased from $0.5 million as recommended by the SMEC to $1 million. This will greatly enhance SMEs' flexibility in securing loans for procuring business installations and equipment."

"In the coming months, the SMEC will make every endeavour to assist the Government in implementing the various recommendations, with a view to making it possible for local SMEs to benefit from the new support measures as soon as possible," Mr. Chan said.

In its report to the CE on 27 June this year, apart from recommending the setting up of the four funding schemes mentioned above, the SMEC recommended about 30 other recommendations in the areas of "business environment", "financing", "corporate governance and culture", "human resources", "technology application" and "market expansion". These recommendations aim to help SMEs equip themselves and strive for continuous self-improvement, with a view to enhancing their overall competitiveness in the new knowledge-based economy.

End/Wednesday, October 10, 2001


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