He made the statement while delivering a keynote speech at Malang Muhammadiyah University in Malang city, East Java province, on Saturday.
The government is encouraging extraordinary MSME development and targeting to expand the sector’s loan growth to 30 percent, he said adding, currently, loan growth has reached 20 percent.
The achievement is not enough, considering that Indonesia's MSME loan growth is still far below Malaysia and Thailand, which have recorded a growth of 50 percent, the minister said.
"It means that something is lacking and must be improved. Our MSME market is huge and it keeps growing. Hence, the government is encouraging financing programs for MSMEs -- not only for conventional ones but also for digital ones,” the minister informed.
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Thus, state-owned bank PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Tbk. has launched the Sembrani Fund, which is an investment in local products or brands, he said.
In addition, President Joko Widodo has inaugurated the Merah Putih Fund, which is a collaboration between a number of state-owned corporations, including Telkom, Telkomsel, Mandiri, and BRI, for investing in local start-up companies, he added.
The start-ups assisted by the program must be founded by Indonesians as well as operate and go public in Indonesia, Thohir said.
The Merah Putih Fund will mainly help ‘soonicorn’ start-ups -- enterprises with a valuation below $200 million -- reach a valuation of $1 billion, or the unicorn level, the minister added.
MSMEs play a very important role in Indonesia’s economy since the sector is mostly driven by the informal economy, Thohir said.
Thus, SOEs’ people-centered programs, such as BRI’s Sembrani Fund, can help many MSMEs apply for microcredit, he added.
The attempt will not only help revive the people's economy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also increase the volume of transactions, Thohir said.
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