A footwear factory (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Development Fund of the Ministry of Industry and Trade has launched financial aid packages for 2017 to continue assisting the firms which make up 97 percent of Vietnam’s total businesses.

These programmes loan SMEs a maximum of 70 percent of the acceptable investment capital of each project or business plan.

The support programme for SMEs’ innovation has total funding of 100 billion VND (4.38 million USD). It provides a maximum loan of 10 billion VND (438,500 USD) and allows a 24-month grace period for the original loan.

Another programme with the same funding targets companies involved in water supply, waste and wastewater management and treatment activities, with loans worth up to 25 billion VND (1.09 million USD).

Two packages worth 180 billion VND (7.89 million USD) each are designed to assist businesses in agriculture, forestry and fisheries and those in processing and manufacturing industries, respectively. Maximum lending under the scheme for agriculture, forestry and fisheries businesses is 20 billion VND (877,000 USD) and that for processing and manufacturing industries is 25 billion VND (1.09 million USD).

The programmes are carried out through December 31, 2017, or until their funding is  used up or the SME Development Fund issues any other announcements.

The interest rate is kept unchanged during the loan term at under 90 percent of that of commercial loans.

SMEs employ more than 50 percent of the workforce and contribute over 40 percent of the GDP in Vietnam. However, they are facing an array of obstacles in accessing credit, production sites and market.-VNA