The government plans to provide an additional $100 million to the state-owned Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank) to broaden the scope of its lending and create opportunities for the Kingdom’s smaller businesses to have better footing, expand operations, and fuel economic growth in the post-Covid-19 era.

This was revealed by Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla at the “Press Conference on Achievement of SME Co-financing Schemes” on December 5.

He affirmed that the extra $100 million would be provided to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the form of loans at low interest rates to ensure these businesses have enough capital to support themselves and perhaps expand.

Phalla signalled that SME Bank is also considering launching SME Co-Financing Scheme Phase III (SCFS III) if it determines that there is sufficient need for additional government intervention to support the business activities of SMEs, should difficult economic times persist.

“But for the coming year, we’ll also have direct loan schemes for SMEs so that they don’t have to go through participating financial institutions … with favourable interest rates,” he said, listing women entrepreneurs, start-ups, and agro-industrial and manufacturing businesses as priorities.

“I sincerely hope that all private financial institutions and stakeholders will keep actively supporting the government’s financing policies,” Phalla added.

SME Bank CEO Lim Aun told The Post on December 6 that the additional $100 million would allow the state-owned bank to provide loans to more sectors, aiming to ensure that SME owners are able to reinforce and expand their businesses.

Nonetheless, he confirmed that “we will have a focus on agro-industry and women entrepreneurs”.

Aun earlier reported that, as of October 31, SME Bank had disbursed “some $418 million” in loans to “at least 3,185” small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME).