Business owners and employees of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic can now seek assistance from the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK). This comes after the agency outlined five proposals to support these parties in need.
“SMEs are crucial in moving the country’s quest to become a higher-income nation. Individuals and business owners who are affected by the crisis are welcome to seek assistance to solve their difficulties. We will help by providing ways to manage it,” said the operation general manager of AKPK, Nor Fazleen Zakaria.
Nor Fazleen further added that the measures proposed will include financial review and counselling, enrolment in debt management programme, delivery of financial education modules, voluntary arrangement service, and lifestyle change programmes.
To illustrate how AKPK can help, Nor Fazleen cited that businesses facing financial difficulties and cannot pay its bills will need to consider liquidating their assets. “During the financial review and counselling, some of the ways we can assist them are by connecting them to the Human Resource Department, Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) social synergy programme, and other entities,” she elaborated.
AKPK also has a debt management programme to assist individuals or business owners who have been overleveraged. The agency can approach banks on their clients’ behalf to request for a debt restructure or a lower monthly instalment.
While the Perikatan Nasional government has done its best to help SMEs with the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package and the Extended Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package, Nor Fazleen said that it will take a while for the aid to make any real difference on the ground. In the interim, SMEs may be unable to pay salaries and may face possible bankruptcy.
“They may resort to using credit cards to support their fixed costs, and only make minimum payments on the cards when due. The inevitable burden from the loans could be devastating down the road,” Nor Fazleen explained.
AKPK was originally set up by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in 2006 to help individuals take control of their personal financial situation and gain the peace of mind that comes from the wise use of credit. It primarily offers three main services: financial education, financial counselling, and debt management programmes.
For more information, you can head on to AKPK’s website, or contact the agency’s POWER! AKPK Infoline at 03-2616 7766.
(Source: Focus Malaysia)