Over 1,800 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have received $221 million in loans from the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank) through the SME Co-financing Scheme Phase II (SCFS II), according to the state-owned enterprise.

Of the 1,834 SMEs in receipt of the loans, priority sectors accounted for 43 per cent, and women entrepreneurs 30 per cent, SME Bank said.

SCFS II’s funds are provided by the government and participating financial institutions (PFI) on a 50-50 matching basis.

Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia (FASMEC) president Te Taingpor told The Post that SME Bank has partnered with more than 30 financial institutions to disburse loans in order to help restore the Kingdom’s economic activities back to pre-pandemic levels.

He added that SME Bank provides loans to SMEs that work in priority areas such as food processing and agriculture, per government policy, and urged SMEs who received SCFS II loans to use them for such purposes.

According to Taingpor, some SMEs failed to receive loans from the SCFS II because of existing indebtedness to banks.

He said that his federation has a “vital role” to play in training SMEs to understand how to successfully borrow money from SME Bank and earn income to repay debts, adding that FASMEC has been providing training to members in the capital and almost all of the 24 provinces.

The budget of the SCFS II was increased to its current amount in February, when the Ministry of Economy and Finance, seeing the initial positive results and additional need for financial support for SMEs, earmarked another $50 million for SME Bank to continue the scheme – a sum that was matched by PFIs, according to SME Bank CEO Lim Aun.

The government launched the first phase of the SCFS in 2020, initially backed by a $100 million fund also provided by the government and PFIs on an equal split basis. Finance ministry secretary of state Phan Phalla announced that initial phase benefitted 753 SMEs, through 33 PFIs.