KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Positive indicators, including the declining jobless rate, have shown that national economic growth of 5.5-6.5 per cent this year can be achieved, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

Although still battling the pandemic, this would be the year of economic recovery, driven by the RM322 billion allocation in Budget 2022, the biggest budget in the country’s history, he said.

“Our focus is on the wellbeing of the people and building business and economic resiliency so that the country can be more prosperous,” Tengku Zafrul said on the Inklusif programme on TV1 tonight.

Among the positive indicators was the labour market, he noted, where the number of unemployed in November 2021 went down to 694,400 people compared to 705,000 in October 2021.

Tengku Zafrul said the Industrial Production Index (IPP) had risen to 9.4 per cent in November 2021, driven by the manufacturing, electrical, and mining sectors.

“Our wholesale and retail trade sales also recorded the highest level at 7 per cent year-on-year to RM118.1 billion, beating the previous month’s figure of RM116.2 billion.

“Overall, these indicators clearly show that economic growth can be achieved and that positive sentiment is returning,” he added.

In the first nine months of 2021, gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3 per cent and the government has estimated that overall GDP growth for last year would be in the range of 3-4 per cent. — Bernama