Last week prior to the Budget 2020 announcement, I was eager to see what was in store in the national budget for micro businesses. As usual, except for few goodies that was allocated for the lower income earners (B40 group) that might be beneficial to the micro businesses owners, most of the budget proposed were for the small and medium-sized businesses. Unfortunately, there were no allocations made for micro businesses.
While it is good for the government in continuing to provide for the small and medium-sized businesses, however, due to the ever challenging business conditions faced by micro businesses, it is time that the government pay more attention to the five million micro businesses involved in both formal and informal sectors in the country.
Like I have always highlighted in the past, fundamentally there is no difference between a start-up and a micro business. However, a start-up enjoys more perks compared to a micro business which to me is a pity since micro businesses also plays a part in contributing to our economy.
Back in the early 80’s, the government was focusing mainly on the small and medium sized businesses involved in the industry sector. Hence, small and medium-sized industry (SMI) were then given lots of attention and help by the government. Even SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) was then known as Small and Medium-Sized Industry Development Corporation (SMIDEC).
It was only in 2009 when SMIDEC was renamed as SME Corp that the government extended its helps to all SMEs including those in the service sector. Fast forward to the present day, while the government has done a remarkable job in providing for the SMEs, I believe that it is time to also include the micro sector. It is the micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) that the government should be helping and providing for in order to deliver the Inclusive Economy and the Shared Prosperity Vision.
Failing to include the micro businesses into the country’s economy development roadmap will surely widen the income gap between SMEs and MSMEs. It will create a negative impact on the income gap, let alone narrowing the income gap. It is also far easier to extend incentives to the micro businesses since they only require very little to prosper.
Unlike its small and medium-sized peers, micro businesses need only a few thousands to sustain and grow whereas small and medium-sized businesses need hundreds of thousands if not millions of funding.
While I understand that the government has its budget limitation and can only be providing for a limited number of Malaysians and businesses, however, I do hope that for however little that the government has, at least they will try just like the starfish story by Loren Eisley to ‘make a difference to that one’.
God bless MSMEs! MSME