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More SMEs apply for ARDB loans

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Seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have applied for $200,000 loans from the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB). POST STAFF

More SMEs apply for ARDB loans

Seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have applied for $200,000 loans from the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB), after it announced the launch of a $50 million fund for SMEs last month.

ARDB CEO Kao Thach told The Post on Wednesday that ARDB is reviewing the applications.

“Most of them have applied for loans through their members. They can get loans in two weeks if they have the sufficient documents. They want to borrow money from us to expand their production line,” he said.

The enterprises can borrow up to $300,000 each, with a six per cent annual interest rate for loans used as working capital and a 6.5 per cent interest rate for loans used for investment, the ARDB said.

To support the more than 500,000 SMEs in Cambodia, the government can utilise the $100 million that it allocated from its budget to launch the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia (SME Bank).

SMEs can borrow $200,000 for working capital and $300,000 for investment capital from the bank, at a seven per cent annual interest rate and a four year period of payment, said the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd (Prasac) on Thursday entered the SME Co-Financing Scheme, a government initiative aimed at providing low-interest loans to bolster and develop Cambodia’s SMEs.

The loan scheme will enable Prasac to provide loans to SMEs with an investment capital of up to 1.26 billion riel ($315,000) or with working capital up to 840 million riel for their businesses with a special interest rate of seven per cent per year and loan terms up to four years.

Prasac executive vice-president Say Sony said the scheme will help develop SMEs in prioritised sectors such as manufacturing and handicrafts.

He added that the loans could help reduce dependence on imports, help large companies continue their production and create employment opportunities.

“Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Prasac will still provide loans to clients as normal. On behalf of the management and staff of Prasac, I would like to thank all the borrowers who have supported and use Prasac’s loan services and would like to wish you good health and safety in this tough time.

“Please be careful and protect yourselves, your family, your community and our nation as a whole. Let’s join together to fight Covid-19,” he said.

An International Finance Corporation report released in August said Cambodia’s women entrepreneurs continue struggle with limited access to financing for business expansion.

Only three per cent have access to credit from microfinance institutions and banks, said the report.

It estimated that the unmet demand for credit from women entrepreneurs is currently $4.2 billion – a figure that is equivalent to almost 63 per cent of Cambodia’s 2019 national budget of $6.7 billion.

A survey by the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation of 71 enterprises in the Kingdom found they needed assistance in market research, service development, packaging, technology adoption, human resources, access to labour, access to finance, business registration, taxation and hygiene standards.

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