ISKANDAR PUTERI: There are positive signs indicating that the country could reach its economic growth projection of between 6% and 7.5%, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said that however, the Covid-19 situation would greatly influence the country’s success in reaching the upper end of the projection by Bank Negara of 7.5%.
“The situation changes from week to week but there have been several positive signs.
“Export for the month of February has increased significantly, the unemployment rate has also dropped by 4.8% and the Industrial Production Index (IPI) has also improved. These are all good signs.
“However, the situation is still fluid and uncertain.
“The Covid-19 situation is still unstable and this makes it difficult for us to plan for next year’s budget.
“On top of that, as long as international borders are still closed, it may be difficult for us to reach full economic recovery.
“However, we are certain that we will be able to reach the economic growth projected by Bank Negara of between 6% and 7.5%, ” Mustapa said at a press conference after a briefing with Johor Petroleum Development Corp Bhd in a hotel here in Iskandar Puteri.
He said that Bank Negara is expected to announce the country’s economic growth for the first quarter of 2021 in the next one or two weeks.
Mustapa added that the government would also be cautious in drafting Budget 2022 due to the lack of financial resources following the pandemic.
“The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) is currently in the process of reviewing applications from the states and ministries.
“The process of drafting Budget 2022 has started since April 12 and is expected to be completed by August.
“The Covid-19 situation has made it difficult for us to come to draft the budget.
“The government will ensure that all of the development projects that will be implemented will give a big impact to the people, ” he said.
He said the government would continue to focus on taking steps to curb Covid-19 while ensuring that the people’s welfare is being taken care of.
On a separate matter, Mustapa said the termination of the high-speed rail or HSR project from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore had not affected any infrastructural development here.
He said this in response to a question on whether there had been any ongoing infrastructural projects that had been affected by the cancellation.