Wed, 07 May 2008
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Cooperatives, Small and Medium Scale Businesses Minister Suryadharma Ali said he was confident small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) will be able to adapt themselves to increased fuel oil prices.

"SMEs are in fact the toughest and most adaptable of all business communities," Suryadharma said here Tuesday.

The ability of SMEs to survive in adverse conditions was proven during the 1997 economic crisis when they underpinned the country`s economy, he said.

"We should not worry about SMEs. To meet their need for working capital, we have the KUR (People`s Business Credit of non- collateral loan) program," he added.

Since the end of 2007, the government had been providing SMEs with loans without collateral through a number of banks involved in the program.

Suryadharma said, the government`s decision to raise fuel oil prices should be seen in a comprehensive way, considering that the state budget had come under extreme pressure by the skyrocketing world oil price.

The global oil price had reached US$120 per barrel while the assumed price in the revised 2008 state budget wa US$90 per barrel.

The government`s policy of slashing the budget allocations for all government departments was a measure to secure the state budget, he said.

However, the minister was optimistic that SMEs would survive although state budget funds for their development had also been cut. (*)



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