Islamic banking institutions urged to provide training to strengthen SME sector

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 28): Islamic banking institutions in Malaysia have been urged to provide extensive financing and entrepreneurship training to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to strengthen the sector, said an economist.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd’s chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the move will create more jobs in SMEs and narrow the income gap between the SMEs and big enterprises.

Citing the effort done by Bank Islam through its ‘SME Development Programme’ held last year in partnership with Centre for University-Industry Collaboration of Universiti Utara Malaysia (CUIC-UUM), he said it is aimed at creating employment and providing access to services, training, guidance and financial assistance.

“They could gain knowledge and skills which is important in developing entrepreneurship, including sales and marketing, operation management, and human resources development,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the Arab-Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCC) Ninth Annual General Meeting and Business Symposium held here, on Tuesday.

Mohd Afzanizam also noted that Islamic banking institutions could help strengthen the SME sectors in other ways such as by promoting the wealth-sharing concept and harnessing the act of charity, including wakaf (endowment).

“We have around 11,000 hectares of wakaf land available in Malaysia. But not more than one percent has been developed. So, wakaf initiatives and assets could be one of the main policy trust to promote Islamic finance,” he said.

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