KUALA LUMPUR – Investment commitments worth RM3.57 billion are in the offing in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) in the fourth quarter of this year.
They were pledged by 16 companies, including eight beneficiaries of the government’s Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju) initiatives, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) announced Monday.
“To date, 29 companies in ECER with an overall investment value of RM646.5 million have benefitted from Teraju’s facilitation fund worth RM84.1 million while 65 companies have been identified as high-performing Bumiputera companies (TeraS),” it said in its fourth quarter announcement here Monday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Maybank chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Farid Alias and ECERDC chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John were present.
At the event, Najib, who is also ECERDC chairman, witnessed the exchange of document between Maybank and ECERDC to establish ECER-Maybank Entrepreneur that will provide financial assistance to local entrepreneurs in ECER.
For a start, Maybank and Maybank Islamic will allocate RM100 million for business financing while ECERDC will allocate RM10 million to top up the interest or profit rate charges.
ECERDC said the move is expected to benefit 2,000 micro and small and medium entrepreneurs in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Mersing, Johor by the end of 2015.
It said the collaboration will be continued under the 11th Malaysia Plan, which commences next year, for the benefit 6,000 entrepreneurs in ECER by 2020.
ECERDC said the scheme will be implemented this month, offering four types of financial assistance, namely SME Portfolio Guarantee-i, SME Property Business Financing-i, SME Micro Financing, and Retail Micro Financing.
It said the Retail Micro-Financing Scheme is offered exclusively to women entrepreneurs with a maximum loan amount of RM10,000 while the other there schemes offered financing amount which varies from RM20,000 to RM50,000.
Under the schemes, it said ECERDC will top up the interest/profit rate charges by up to 50 per cent.
ECERDC, together with Maybank, is planning to organise outreach activities to promote the programme to the public starting this month.
Apart from the ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme, ECERDC is also collaborating with Agrobank and Sirim Bhd in the Entrepreneur ECER programme which has benefitted 1,365 entrepreneurs in the economic region to date.
Meanwhile, at the event, ECERDC named three anchor companies to operate and manage large-scale commercial agriculture projects in ECER, namely The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhd, CSC Integrated Herbal Farm Sdn Bhd, and Genetic Improvement and Farm Technologies Sdn Bhd (GIFT).
ECERDC said The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhd will invest RM30 million to operate and manage the Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre built by ECERDC that will create 100 satellite farmers as part of its support networks.
CSC Integrated Herbal Farm Sdn Bhd will invest RM20 million by 2020 to operate and manage ECER’s Herbal Integrated Cluster Development in Chegar Perah, Pahang and cultivate various herbal plants.
“This project is expected to create 36 contract farmers and entrepreneurs among the locals, who have the potential of earning RM5,000 per month,” it added.
Another anchor company, GIFT will invest RM10 million to enhance and develop an efficient and sustainable sheep breeding programme through the Kuala Berang Sheep Breeding and Innovation Centre built by ECERDC in Terengganu.
Since 2007, ECERDC has attracted investments worth RM72.26 billion, marking 66 per cent of ECER’s investment target of RM110 billion by 2020, and created 73,281 jobs.
Pahang led the way in term of investments with RM35.23 billion, followed by Terengganu (RM24.24 billion), Kelantan (RM11.17 billion), and Mersing (RM1.61 billion). – Bernama