Axiata, Celcom and Boost Launch COVID-19 Relief RM150 Million SME Cash Fund Through Aspirasi Platform

Date : 25-Mar-2020
Location: Kuala Lumpur

Key Takeaways:
  • As part of their ongoing corporate community commitment, Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata” or the “Group”) together with its subsidiaries Celcom Axiata Berhad (“Celcom”), edotco Group (“edotco”) and Axiata Digital announced the launch of a RM150 million cash fund to provide financial assistance to micro-SMEs.
  • The COVID-19 Assistance Program serves as a direct and urgent intervention by Axiata to give immediate assistance to micro-SMEs facing financial difficulties arising from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent Movement Control Order (“MCO”) issued by the Government of Malaysia which saw the closure of all non-essential businesses.
Spokepersons:
  • Axiata’s President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, said, the initiative is meant to mirror government's efforts in mitigating the pandermic whereby corporate companies lend a helping hand to alleviate the impact on businesses and communities; the core idea is provide a lifeline for benefitors to quickly get them back on their feet in order to weather and recover from the pandemic.
  • Axiata Digital’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Khairil Abdullah,said,is a blessing that the Aspirasi platform can be quickily redeployed to serve the purpose.
  • Celcom’s Chief Executive Officer, Idham Nawawi,said, the company has been serving and supporting small businesses for over 30 years and now is the most critical time.

 Offering:
  • Through the Aspirasi digital platform, Axiata’s COVID-19 Assistance Program includes an initial contribution of RM20 million from the Ministry of Finance.
  • The program offers shariah compliant micro-financing through its subsidiary Axiata Digital, in the range of RM1,000 to RM10,000 and on favourable terms. This is targeted to benefit an estimate of 150,000 micro-SMEs within Boost, Aspirasi and Celcom ecosystem, as well as within other ecosystems including its e-commerce and FMCG partners and potentially other telcos and e-wallets.
  • Interest and payment terms include suspended repayment requirements and concessional interest rates. In addition, Axiata’s COVID-19 Assistance Program will also bundle micro-insurance coverage under Aspirasi to protect micro-SME proprietors and merchants with emergency income, accidental death and COVID-19 assistance.

Insights:
  • Under the current challenging conditions, micro-SMEs, which easily make up more than 50% of SMEs in Malaysia and fall mostly within the B40 segment of society, will face mounting difficulties in operating their businesses. Micro-SMEs tend to have minimal savings and cash flow to buffer against unpredictable events and will not have sufficient funds to sustain daily needs.
  • Aspirasi is Malaysia’s first fully digital fintech financier, with over RM60 million micro-financing to date across Malaysia and Indonesia.
Best Practices:
  • By leveraging Aspirasi’s advanced digital technology, micro-SMEs will only be required to undergo a quick 3-minute online process and if approved, funding will be made available in 48 hours from their bank accounts. This allows for ease of applications to be made during the MCO period and for funds to be quickly and efficiently disbursed to businesses in need, with minimal or no human intervention.

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