Finance Ministry section chief: Govt focused on Covid-19 and its effects in drafting Budget 2021

Health workers test a foreign worker for Covid-19 at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Health workers test a foreign worker for Covid-19 at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The government had focused on efforts and measures to curb the Covid-19 infections as well as the pandemic’s effects in drafting Budget 2021, which was tabled on November 6.

Ministry of Finance’s Government Procurement Division section head Ahmad Fauzi Sungip said the health sector is a priority for the government, especially in terms of strengthening the frontliners, in addition to the initiatives to obtain vaccines in the future.

“The government also emphasised on financial strengthening, especially for the B40 and M40 groups, through various financial assistance and tax cuts,” he said in Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme last night.

Hosted by Sherkawi Jirim, the talk show programme had discussed on the topic “Budget 2021: Benefiting the People and Business in the Context of Revenue”.

Ahmad Fauzi, who is also a member of the Budget 2021 team, said the government had also prioritised the survival of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in light of the pandemic’s adverse economic impact.

“The government has enhanced the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Account 1 advance system to alleviate the financial burden of those who had been retrenched as well as those in need,” he said.

Under the i-Sinar programme, eligible EPF members can apply for an advance payment from their Account 1 starting next month.

The i-Sinar programme, which is an extension of the i-Lestari programme, is expected to benefit two million people, with an estimated advance totalling RM14 billion.

The budget, themed “Resilient as One, Together We Triumph”, allocates a total of RM322.5 billion for operating and development expenditure, and is set to go through the voting process in the Dewan Rakyat on November 26. — Bernama

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