KOTA KINABALU: The development of the Supply and Service Outsourcing (SSO) initiative centre here is a boon for local entrepreneurs wrestling with the impact of a slowing economy, said deputy chief minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah.
The project, to be developed at a cost of RM30 million on five acres of land at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) near here, will put into sharp focus the state government’s desire to see to fruition the halal food hub at KKIP and to help expand small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“The SSO is to promote KKIP’s halal food hub, and the integrated services, to reduce the cost of products, and maximize the efficiency,” said Raymond, who is also Industrial Development Minister, when unveiling the project at a leading hotel here yesterday.
“Also it will become a platform to help SMEs, from the production level right up to the marketing and sale of their products, and equipped with facilities such as refrigeration, and storage, among others.”
He said the centre also would function as a venue where SMEs in Sabah could seek help to overcome various problems particularly in marketing, and promotion of products which has affected their overall production.
“Many SME operators have problems at various levels of the supply chain,” he explained. “Through this SSO, we want to help them from sourcing of products to final sale in the domestic and foreign markets.”
KKIP is a state-funded industrial park and is the biggest mixed industrial area in Sabah. It was started 20 years ago and is reported to have attracted more than RM4 billion in investments. Its proximity to the Sepanggar Port, Sabah biggest port, is one of its main advantages. The park also has the reputation of having a comprehensive mix of training and research institutions aimed at complementing industrial growth in Sabah.
Raymond said that the SSO will also play roles in capacity building programme that encompasses matters such as exporting, research solutions, packaging, and so on.
“We provide end-to-end solution,” he added, pointing out that this is needed as the number of micro and small enterprises in Sabah has tremendously increased over the last 5-10 years.
The sectors that have seen positive growth include food, non-food and handicraft. Among the reasons for this scenario is the increased awareness of the population in participating in business and the assistance provided by the Federal and State Governments to these enterprises.
In 2015, a total of 162 programmes amounting to RM8.03 billion were implemented by the Federal Government and this year, a total ofRM7.56 billion covering 153 programmes is being planned to be implemented to assist SME including micro and small enterprises.
However, these enterprises are facing challenges to move forward their businesses and among the hurdles they face are the marketing and promotion of their products.
As a manufacturer of products, they tend to devote their resources to manufacturing their products leaving little time to market their products.
As a result, there is a pullback effect where players tend to hold back on production as they fear that there won’t be sufficient market for their products, resulting in the stunted production capacity of the industry players. The ministry assists these micro and small entrepreneurs to grow. The industrial development ministry has formulated an approach to further assist the entrepreneurs in the markets and promotion of their products through the SSO.
Meanwhile, SSO co-organizer, Softwise Sdn Bhd’s Darren Lo said that the centre will not only be used by entrepreneurs but also, they will propose to the government agencies such as veterinary department and City Hall to open their mini office, so they can help to smoothen any bureaucratic processed the businesses must negotiate.
Also present during the launching ceremony were Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Jainab Haji Ahmad Ayid and general manager of KKIP Property Sdn Bhd, Samuel Wong.
SOURCE:- NEW SABAH TIMES