KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd, in a bid to be more active in financing small-to-medium enterprises (SME), is helping to organise the country's largest halal expo Halal Fiesta Malaysia (HalFest).
The expo, which will be held here from October 12-16 at the Putra World Trade Centre, will host more than 700 booths for industry players, especially SMEs, to showcase their halal products and services. Some 50,000 visitors are expected.
"We recognise that these halal industry players are always improving and seeking innovative ways to raise funds, so we are pleased to be able to play a role. To be a true halal business, one must finance the business by way of Islamic banking and finance," the bank's executive director and CEO Badlisyah Abdul Ghani said.
CIMB Islamic, one of 17 Islamic banks in Malaysia, has roughly about RM4 billion in the SME Islamic financing space.
Badlisyah said he expected the bank to maintain a SME financing growth rate of about 20 per cent this year in the Islamic commercial banking space.
"We focus on credible companies from all industries with credible business plans, and if they fulfil the relevant requirements, we will support them," he remarked.
HalFest, of which CIMB Islamic is the main sponsor, will be co-organised by Shapers Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), in a public-private sector partnership.
The event aims to promote halal products manufactured by local companies.
By setting up a promotion platform for these companies, HalFest is expected to help nurture the halal entrepreneurs to be export-oriented, so in three years time, they would be ready to experience the halal export market.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, who witnessed the signing of the partnership between CIMB Islamic, Shapers and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), noted that there is much potential to be reaped from the halal market, pointing out that the global market for halal food alone was worth some US$650 billion (RM1.93 trillion) last year.
The main exporters in the halal realm include Thailand, Turkey and India. The US and Europe have also started to get more seriously involved in this industry, he noted.