An increase of 5.7% in Covid-19 aid given this year

A TOTAL of RM164.2bil was spent in the first quarter of this year to manage the country including providing Covid-19 aid, says Deputy Finance Minister Mohd Shahar Abdullah.

“It is an increase by 5.7% than what was spent in the same period last year,” he said when replying to a question from Fong Kui Lun (PH-Bukit Bintang) yesterday.

Mohd Sahar said RM117.4bil was spent on management, RM28.4bil for development and RM18.4bil for Covid-19-related expenditure.

He added that 82.5% of development expenditure went towards the economic and social sectors.

“For example, RM18.9bil of the expenditure was for Bantuan Prihatin Nasional, RM3.7bil for wage subsidies, RM2bil for special grants to micro-entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises,” he said.

Mohd Shahar also said that although the government’s revenue had increased by 4.6% to RM106.4bil in the first quarter of this year, it was still lower than expected.

To address this, he said the government would seek to increase revenue through several measures that will be announced in Budget 2022.

Among the measures, he said was the introduction of a tax identification number, and the tightening of tobacco controls such as imposing a tax on vape products.

To a question by Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) on the exact amount of shortfall in government revenue, Mohd Shahar said this would be known later this year after the end of the tax returns filing period in June.

To a suggestion by Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Ind-Muar) for windfall taxes to be imposed on rubber gloves manufacturers who made huge profits due to the pandemic, he said such a move needs to be given careful consideration.

He said RM400mil contributions from the corporate sector including rubber gloves manufacturers last year was used to help in the nation’s fight against Covid-19.

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