Tengku Zafrul confident of measures to help economy rebound

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is now at a “critical juncture” as the country intensifies efforts to recover and rebound from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to achieve its aspiration of becoming a developed and high-income nation.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the road ahead for the nation will be filled with challenges and obstacles, especially following the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projections that the global economy is expected to grow slower compared to 2021 due to the presence of the Omicron variants.

The situation, said Tengku Zafrul, is compounded by climate change, the country gearing towards becoming an ageing nation as well as structural issues that cannot be resolved in a short period of time.

He, however, remained upbeat that the annual Budget will inject new life into the aspirations as outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan, helping the nation to a development foundation that is stronger, more sustainable and inclusive.

“Strategies, initiatives and measures in the 2022 Budget were neatly formulated to sustain the country’s recovery momentum in the short-term as well as incorporating policies to restructure the economy of the country in the long run.

“In implementing these two agendas, the government through the 2022 Budget will focus on two main cores, namely improving the country’s labour market and empower the business sector,” said Tengku Zafrul in his speech at the launch of the RM40 billion SemarakNiaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme here today.

The programme was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

On SemarakNiaga Keluarga Malaysia, Tengku Zafrul said the programme was formulated to ensure that the entrepreneur community can rebound, rise and expand their businesses.

Together with the measures in the 2022 Budget that will facilitate businesses, he said the programme could help the government achieve its target of creating 600,000 employment opportunities for the people.

“Inshallah (God willing), all of these efforts will help the national economy rebound,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said although Malaysia’s small and medium enterprises’ gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 contracted 7.3 per cent, the contribution from the business sector especially from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) remain significant.

This is because MSMEs in the same year contributed almost 40 per cent to the country’s GDP and more than 13 per cent of Malaysia’s exports.

“Therefore, it is important for the government to ensure the business sector remains competitive.

“And to achieve such a target, under the 2022 Budget, the SemarakNiaga Keluarga Malaysia were formulated with a purpose of restoring the capabilities and capacities of businesses by creating more access to financing facilities,” he said.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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