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Just 3 loans from SME fund so far

Update: April, 15/2017 - 09:00
The SME Development Fund aims to provide loans worth VNĐ560 billion (US$24.8 million) by 2017. But so far, only three firms have gotten financial support from the fund, worth VNĐ15 billion. — Photo vneconomy.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Though the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Fund was established a year ago, so far only three firms have got loans from it, fund director Hoàng Thị Hồng said.

The SME fund has a registered capital of VNĐ2 trillion (US$88.8 million).

The three companies received loans worth VNĐ15 billion are involved in innovation and the manufacturing industry.

Since its establishment,1,000 enterprises have been advised of its borrowing procedures, and 20 applied for loans worth a total of VNĐ250 billion, according to Hồng. However, after the appraisal process, the fund offered loans to only three enterprises.

The result is exceptional considering the fund’s target and its preferential policies.

The fund is expected to provide loans worth VNĐ560 billion by 2017.

As a rule, the fund will provide businesses with a maximum of 70 per cent of a project’s capital at an interest rate of 5 per cent per year for one-year loans and 7 per cent per year for medium- and long-term loans. The maximum loan period is seven years.

One of the advantages of the fund, compared to bank loans, is that to borrow money, businesses can use assets formed from loans [output of their projects] as collateral. Also, usually, bank requires SMEs to mortgage assets whose value is 100 to 150 per cent of the loan. When borrowing from this fund, the collateral value does not need to exceed 100 per cent of the loan value.

The fund has four programmes for different types of enterprises: innovative businesses; processing and manufacturing enterprises; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; water supply, management and treatment of waste water and waste. The maximum loan for each enterprise is between VNĐ10 billion and VNĐ25 billion, depending on the type of enterprise.

Nguyễn Hữu Quang, director of Forestry Products Processing for Export Company in the central province of Thanh Hóa, told Tiền Phong (the Vanguard) newspaper, that the loan was not easily accessible to businesses. “We are expanding our factory so we need to borrow around VNĐ20 billion to import machinery and equipment, but all applications have to wait for the evaluation of a science and technology committee as well as the trust bank,” Quang said.

Đặng Huy Đông, chairman of SME Development Fund and deputy minister of Planning and Investment, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the biggest obstacle is in the process of project assessment conducted by trust banks, and financial procedures.

Many enterprises don’t have the experience to present projects, so they are unable to convince the appraisal council, according to Đông.

Enterprises also do not proactively provide transparent financial information, and fail to have projects for the purpose that the fund has been set up for.

Another problem is that businesses ask for loans higher than the actual cost of the project. “There are situations when a company sets up many loan projects simultaneously in an effort to get some loan sanctioned, or sometimes an individual represents many companies to apply for a loan,” Hồng said.

In addition, the lending limit for some sectors is too low, so it does not motivate businesses to file applications for loans with the fund, a trust bank representative explained, on condition of anonymity.

The SME Development Fund was established under Decision No 601/QĐ-TTg, dated April 17, 2013, by the then Prime Minister. It is a State-owned financial institution under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and its chartered capital of VNĐ2 trillion has been allocated from State budget. — VNS

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