PUTRAJAYA, Dec 2 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today subsidies at a 2.0 per cent interest rate will be given under the SME Investment Partner (SIP) programme of the SME Masterplan.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the subsidies are necessary because of the high costs involved and to enhance early stage financing for SMEs.

“Because the subsidies involve sukuk bonds, the costs will be quite high, and in the meeting just now we decided that the government would give out the subsidies at an interest rate of two per cent to identified SME Partners,” he told reporters after chairing the National SME Development Council’s 17th meeting here today.

Under Budget 2015, the government has proposed a RM375 million fund for five years in the form of loans, equity or both, especially at the start-up stage, for the SME Investment Partner programme.

Of the total, RM250 million will come from SME Bank and RM125 million from private investors.

Najib said the draft for the proposed SME Act is being readied and is expected to be tabled in Parliament in the third quarter of next year. – Bernama