KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — The government has maintained the country’s economic growth forecast for 2022 in the range of 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said the figure was also in line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank projections of 5.7 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively.

“The continued momentum of the country’s economic recovery is clearly visible with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.1 per cent for 2021,” he was quoted as saying in the 84th Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (Laksana) report released today.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) and Bank Negara have announced GDP growth of 3.1 per cent in 2021, in line with the government’s projection of between 3 per cent and 4 per cent.

This figure is an improvement over 2020, when GDP contracted by 5.6 per cent.

Tengku Zafrul said the increase in GDP reflected the momentum of economic recovery that was clearly visible during the fourth quarter of last year, especially through improving economic indicators.

He said investors were also seen to be more confident in the country’s recovery prospects.

“For example, net FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows reach more than RM50 billion for 2021, higher than the years before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

“In fact, total foreign trade has already exceeded RM2 trillion, chalking up the fastest growth since 1994,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said the growth momentum is expected to continue this year, which would be the impetus for the country’s GDP to continue to recover to levels before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Going forward, this year’s growth will be driven primarily by expansion propelled by Budget 2022, normalisation in economic and social activities based on high vaccination rates, resumption of projects with high multiplier effects and strong external demand, especially from major trading partners,” he said. — Bernama