Measures to boost economy and protect against effects of war

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 08 Feb 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is working on measures to boost economic growth, including a contingency plan to protect the economy from the adverse effects of an impending US war against Iraq. 

The initiatives will be ready for implementation by the end of March at the latest, but could come earlier if the need arises, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Dr Jamaludin Jarjis. 

“The Government is preparing the country to respond quickly to external shocks and foster sustained economic growth,”‘ said Jamaludin in a statement yesterday. 

He said the expected 4% growth for last year was an indication that the economy continued to be resilient in the face of challenging global conditions. 

“Despite the improvement expected in 2002 figures, the country’s economy is likely to be affected by slowing global economic conditions for the year 2003, as early estimates point to a more modest global economic growth.” 

Jamludin said the Government had set up 10 committees to bring about structural and institutional changes to reposition the economy.  

They will look at 

  • INCREASING national competitiveness; 

  • IMPROVING the country’s delivery system; 

  • PROMOTING new sources of growth, specifically in services and biotechnology; 

  • STRENGTHENING the capital market; 

  • ENCOURAGING domestic investment; 

  • IMPROVING efficiency and revenue collection; 

  • MONOTORING macroeconomic policies and controlling the government deficit; 

  • ENCOURAGING investments and tourism from new markets, specifically the Middle East, East Asia and emerging economies; 

  • SPURRING the agricultural sector and improving rural economy; and 

  • IMPROVING security, especially in the transportation chain. 

    A special cabinet committee headed by the Deputy Prime Minister would take charge of the initiative to improve national competitiveness. 

    Miti and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs will jointly chair the committee on encouraging domestic investment. 

    The Second Finance Minister said the Government was prepared to consider additional measures to sustain growth if the United States attacks Iraq in the coming weeks. 

    Jamaludin said the package would be based on just how long the war would last. 

    The Prime Minister is scheduled to announce the details of a new growth stimulus package following the release of Bank Negara’s annual report on March 26.  

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