PM to announce recovery plan

The 3 key objectives are to empower people, propel businesses and stimulate the economy, says finance minister

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR/ pic by BERNAMA

A SHORT-TERM economic recovery plan for June to December will be launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) this month.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the plan will focus on three key objectives, namely to empower people, propel businesses and stimulate the economy.

The government’s approach is based on four characteristics — agile and dynamic; prioritising public-private cooperation; upholding transparency and openness; and using data-based approach.

“The plan is a chance for us to take advantage of new opportunities arising from the Covid-19 crisis.

“God willing, the initiatives will enable us to achieve the objectives that have been set,” he said when presenting the Prihatin-Laksana’s seventh progress report yesterday.

Tengku Zafrul said the short-term economic recovery plan is the fourth of the six-phase approach in weathering the health and economic challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the government will allocate an additional RM1.5 bil- lion for Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN), bringing the total amount to RM11.5 billion which would benefit approximately 10.77 million recipients.

Tengku Zafrul said BPN recipients were split into three groups, with the first group of 8.3 million recipients receiving payments in two phases.

“As of May 31, 2020, the achievement rate for the first and second phases was at 96.5%,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said 7.93 million recipients received a payout totalling to RM5.56 billion under Phase 1, while 7.9 million received a total payment of RM3.55 billion in Phase 2.

“For the second group, from a total of 2.3 million recipients, 2.08 million had received a lump sum of RM1.57 billion.

“The third group comprises those who have appealed between May 11 and 31. A total of 170,000 appeals were received and will be reviewed manually. The results will be announced in mid-June and payment will start later this month,” he added.

i-Lestari Programme

Under i-Lestari, depositors can withdraw RM500 per month for 12 months from their second Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account.

As of May 31, four million applications have been approved — an increase from 3.9 million last week.

All these will result in a total payout of RM1.9 billion a month.

Wage Subsidy

A total of RM3.32 billion worth of subsidies were approved as of May 17, benefitting 286,338 employers and involving 2.2 million workers.

“This is an increase in the amount approved of RM980 million for 200,000 workers from two weeks ago,” Tengku Zafrul said.

Employees’ EPF Contribution Reduction

For the employees’ EPF contribution reduction to 7%, the estimated contribution amount which will be accepted by EPF members for May is RM895 million.

As of May 31, the government found that 1.7 million or 23% EPF contributors chose to keep their contributions at a premium of 11%, compared to the previous 1.5 million.

e-Cap for SMEs

EPF received 26,509 applications for its Employer Covid-19 Assistance Programme (e-CAP) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as of May 31, of which 5,245 have been approved, bringing the total amount to RM34.8 million.

Soft Loans for SMEs

As of May 31, the loan scheme saw banks approving RM6.9 billion in funds to help support 16,833 SMEs.

Special Prihatin Grant for SMEs

A grant catering to micro SMEs was closed for registration on May 15. The government is currently processing 643,000 applications for a special Prihatin grant.

“A total of 488,857 or 76% of the application has been approved involving a payout of RM1.47 billion which will be made available from June 15 onwards.

“Those who would like to check the status of their applications can do so from June 3, 2020,” Tengku Zafrul said.

He added that the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) is reviewing 81,260 applications, and the approval status will be announced on June 8. For those approved, payment will also be made starting June 15.

“The IRB also found that 72,859 applications did not pass. The appeal period will be from June 3 to 15 through the official IRB portal. For the appellants who passed, payments will be made from June 29, 2020,” he said.

Micro Credit Scheme under BSN and Tekun

As of this week, RM175 million worth of loans have been approved for 4,587 micro SMEs under Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) and RM128 million for 15,949 micro SMEs under Tekun Nasional.