M’sia on right path for economic recovery, says Zafrul

Helping hand: RM320mil has been channelled to 9,358 micro SMEs, including those in retail and services, as at Jan 8. — RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the right formula to get on the recovery path in terms of both public health and the economy, says Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said the combination of recent decisions involving the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR), Statutory Reserve Requirement (SRR), as well as Budget 2021 initiatives, the Permai assistance package, expediting of vaccine procurement and increased screening of employees, were all part of the right formula.

“Most importantly, the measures must be seen in their totality, not in isolation, ” he said, presenting the 37th Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (Laksana) Report yesterday.

He added that the government would do its best to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure the economic recovery process continued.

Tengku Zafrul described as “appropriate” the decision by Bank Negara Malaysia’s monetary policy committee on Wednesday to maintain the OPR at 1.75%.

“(This is) considering multiple government measures through the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) and Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (Kita Prihatin) as well as Budget 2021 are still continuing or will commence, ” he said.

Tengku Zafrul added that the measures that had been and continue to be implemented included the loan repayment moratorium, special grants, Wage Subsidy Programme and soft loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

On the central bank’s announcement to extend the flexibility for banking institutions to utilise Malaysian Government Securities and Malaysian Government Investment Issues to fulfil the SRR until Dec 31,2022, he said: “This step ensures ample liquidity to support financial and economic activities.”

On the RM2bil Penjana SME Financing, Tengku Zafrul said a total of 6,139 applications had been approved with a total financing value of RM1.18bil as at Jan 8, compared with 5,976 applications with a total financing value of RM1.15bil a week earlier.

Several applications were cancelled for the Penjana Tourism Financing, leading to a drop in the number of approved applications to 271 from 272 as at Jan 1, but the value was up at RM54.9mil from RM54.8mil previously.

As for Penjana Credit Micro Financing under Bank Simpanan Nasional, Tengku Zafrul said RM320mil had been channelled to 9,358 micro SMEs, including those in retail and services, as at Jan 8.

Meanwhile, as at Jan 8,389 SMEs had received RM105.6mil in funds from the Bumiputra Relief Financing scheme, which is managed by Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd.

To support agriculture and food industry, RM71.3mil benefiting 6,748 micro SMEs had been channelled under the Agrobank Micro Credit Financing scheme, he said.

On the Employees Provident Fund’s i-Sinar facility, the minister said a total of 4.8 million applications under Category 1 had been received as at Jan 20, of which 3.18 million applications totalling RM25.3bil had been approved.

“Members whose applications were approved will receive a total of RM13bil in January, ” he said.

Tengku Zafrul had earlier announced the payout for financial assistance under the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional 2.0 to be rolled out yesterday.

The payments totalling RM2.38bil are given out to 11.06 million eligible recipients. — Bernama

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