Chinese Manufacturers' Association president Herbert Liang Hin-ying wants the Government to make more funding available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He said yesterday the existing fund of $2.5 billion was insufficient and should be boosted to $8 billion. He also suggested the Government should set up an industrial and commercial bank to manage the fund. He said the bank would minimise operating costs and raise efficiency. He pointed out only $600 million had so far been approved and lent to SMEs since the fund was launched almost a year ago. 'The manufacturing sector is the future of Hong Kong. This is not a cliche, as the recession has been largely the result of the collapse of the stocks, real-estate and services markets last year,' he said. The association, representing almost all of the SAR's tens of thousands of manufacturers, was 'cautiously optimistic' about a recovery of Hong Kong's economy. Mr Liang said Hong Kong was likely to climb out of the economic downturn during the second half.