KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd has launched RM100 million in financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to acquire and instal renewable energy technology, as part of its RM15 billion SME allocation for 2019–2020, and the group’s sustainability commitment.

Among the first initiatives of this programme is to provider smaller SMEs with 100% financing to cover the cost of solar photovoltaic systems and the installation of these on their rooftops, according to a statement from the group.

The financing initiative offers packages from as low as RM20,000 and up to RM1 million, and is in support of the government’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) scheme.

“With the CIMB Renewable Energy Financing, we are pleased to be able to incorporate environmentally friendly policies into our commitment to the SME sector. Our planet is at a tipping point, from an environmental, economic and social (EES) perspective, and we must take action now. To that end, members of the banking and finance industry can and must leverage on our resources and network to catalyse real lasting change across these fronts, and to begin pursuing profits with a purpose,” said the group’s chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz.

The initiative was announced by Tengku Zafrul at the start of the group’s two-day “The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit” yesterday. Undertaken in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda), SMEs will first need to obtain NEM approval from Seda to be eligible for the scheme.

When met on the sidelines of the conference, Tengku Zafrul said an applicant’s financing needs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. “We have to see the amount requested in relation to the size of the SME,” he said.

When asked why the banking group is launching the financing scheme now, Tengku Zafrul reiterated that the move is part of CIMB’s sustainability agenda, under which the group has also offered lower finance costs for hybrid car loans and loans for green building index houses and buildings.

“This is to encourage people to take sustainability issues more seriously, and to make it more commercially viable for them,” he added.

On that note, Tengku Zafrul said the group hopes the government would announce tax incentives in the upcoming Budget 2020 to further encourage the development of sustainable technology. He also said more measures are needed to help improve education opportunities of the country’s bottom 40% income group, the B40 segment.

Meanwhile, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who was present to launch the summit yesterday, lauded and welcomed CIMB’s green financing announcement, saying it would allow more businesses to engage with renewable technology, thus making it more accessible to more people.

The summit, which ends today, is CIMB’s first regional platform to raise awareness of social and environmental risks, as well as opportunities within the context of business and finance in shaping a sustainable economy. It is organised in collaboration with the WWF and sustainability consultancy, Impacto.

Link: https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/cimb-launches-rm100m-green-energy-financing-smes