AKPK ready to offer assistance to troubled SMEs and households

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PETALING JAYA: In the 15 years since Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) was established by Bank Negara, it has helped almost 1.2 million individuals with financial advisory and assisted 34,000 participants in its debt management programme (DMP) to settle RM1.5bil of debts.

“On the preventive side, nearly seven million Malaysians had benefitted from AKPK’s various financial education interventions since its establishment, ” it said in a statement.

AKPK was part of the Consumer Protection Framework under Bank Negara’s 10-year Financial Sector Masterplan (2000–2010).

It provides three main services including financial education that offers programmes on basic money management skills as well as tips on how to use credit responsibly, financial advisory that provides personal advice on managing finances from budgeting and money management to credit-related issues.

It also provides DMP that offers personalised debt repayment plans in consultation with financial service providers. Last year, AKPK said it was given a new mandate to serve the business community, specifically the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“This began with the extension of DMP to sole proprietors, followed by the transfer of the Small Debt Resolution Scheme (SDRS) function from Bank Negara to AKPK, ” it said.

SDRS is an avenue for SMEs to obtain repayment assistance, complementing the efforts of the banking industry to provide relief to distressed SMEs.

This is done through the facilitation of debt repayment arrangement for the SMEs with the banks in an amicable and collective manner, without resorting to legal recourse.

In addition, AKPK said it has launched its Micro Enterprise Help Desk that provides advisory and facilitates repayment assistance for micro enterprises with their banks.

AKPK CEO Azaddin Ngah Tasir said the agency is ready to take up the new mandate and has even put together its new vision and mission to reflect this change.

“Our mission is to empower the community – households and SMEs – to be financially resilient via customer-centric financial education, advisory and debt management services.

“We have set a vision for ourselves to be a trusted and leading authority in financial wellness, empowering a financially resilient society and contributing to national socio-economic goals.”