PUTRAJAYA, Aug 23 — The government will ensure that the 2023 Budget is being prepared with people’s wellbeing at its core by taking into consideration the challenges that await next year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said among the main focus of the budget is to ensure post-Covid-19 recovery, which will include the creation of jobs, an increase in income and the survival of businesses.
“In facing the global uncertainty, Budget 2023 also focuses on the people by improving the social protection system and increasing the wellbeing of the people through quality healthcare service and education system,” he said.
Speaking at the closing of the 2023 Budget Consultation programme at the Ministry of Finance here today, Ismail Sabri said the government would also pay attention to a safe and comfortable living environment by emphasising inclusive and sustainable development.
“This aims at enabling all members of the Malaysian Family to benefit from the country’s development now and in future regardless of community and residential areas,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said various issues and challenges were raised during the 2023 Budget Consultation and methods and solutions proposed to tackle all those issues would be studied in detail.
The proposed solutions include taxation, subsidies and social protection, business continuity and industrial sustainability, including reducing the costs of doing business by boosting the development of human resources, skilled workers, productivity and business digitalisation.
He said there were also proposals to strengthen the cooperation between various quarters to expedite the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Agenda at the national level by 2030.
Ismail Sabri the country’s economy is showing a strong recovery in the first half of 2022 with a growth of 6.9 per cent following the government’s move to implement the transition-to-endemic phase, the full opening of the economy and borders and supported by the expansionary fiscal policy through the 2022 Budget.
He said he was also confident that the post-Covid-19 economic recovery momentum will continue until the end of 2022 which will enable the growth forecast of between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent to be achieved.
“Based on the latest economic indicators, it is expected that growth in 2022 will reach the highest level in the projected range,” he said.
The prime minister said the momentum of the country’s economic recovery was not only in the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but also in the recovery of the labour market.
It was clearly achieved based on the reduction in the unemployment rate from the highest of 5.3 per cent in May 2020 to 3.8 per cent in June 2022, among them the result of the JaminKerja initiative with an allocation of over RM4 billion in the 2022 Budget, he said.
Foreign investors’ confidence in the national economy is clearly strengthened as the foreign direct investment (FDI) recorded a higher net inflow of RM41.7 billion in the first half of 2022 compared to only RM23.3 billion in the same period in 2019 before the pandemic, he said.
Despite the country’s economic growth for 2022 being on an encouraging recovery trajectory, Ismail Sabri reminded the people that Malaysia was still facing an increasingly challenging global economic prospect for 2023.
This follows the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the disruption of the global food supply chain as well as the actions of the world’s central banks that tighten monetary policy, he said.
“As an open economy, we are not spared from global developments. The disruption of the world’s supply chain has definitely caused a steep rise in the prices of food and commodities,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said in June 2022, the inflation rate in developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom had surpassed nine per cent, while in regional countries such as Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, it is above six per cent.
For the sake of people’s wellbeing, he said the government has also implemented measures to control the price of goods and improve aid and subsidies for essential items, and as a result of the government’s actions, the inflation rate for the first half of 2022 remains at a controlled level of 2.5 per cent.
The measures taken by the government’s had increased the allocation for aid and subsidy to a whooping RM77.7 billion this year compared to only RM31 billion last year.
“Without government aid and subsidies, it is estimated that the country’s inflation rate will reach 11.4 per cent,” he said. — Bernama