by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE government will continue to prioritise the country’s youth in drafting Budget 2022, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture).
He said the statistical process of drafting the budget has already begun and that the government will repeat its engagement with the youth.
“Like last year, we will hold an engagement session with the youth to draft Budget 2022,” he said in his speech during the launch of the eBelia programme today.
Tengku Zafrul said eBelia was instigated due to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic to the youth.
The RM300 million programme aims to help and encourage cashless payments among youth.
“Nowadays, various aspects of our daily lives have shifted to digital applications to simplify and speed up things.
“This includes the way we make purchases, either through online platforms or in stores through cashless payments,” said the minister.
He shared that the ePenjana programme implemented last year has accumulated the registration of 4 million new e-wallet users while over 36,000 merchants registered with e-wallet providers.
“We hope this momentum will be maintained through eBelia as a continuation of the government’s efforts in driving the transition to financial digitalisation,” he said, adding that a general survey found that people use more than one e-wallet.
The e-wallet service providers involved in eBelia are BigPay, Boost, ShopeePay and Touch ‘n Go eWallet which collectively have 30 million active users and a network of over 1 million merchants online and offline.
This extensive network enables the programme to be implemented nationwide and reach more youth and students.
Various initiatives have been announced to vitalise youth participation through stimulus packages such as Penjana.
Such initiatives include motivating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to switch to digital platforms through the RM70 million SME e-Commerce campaign, as well as Shop Malaysia Online (also worth RM70 million) to spur online spending.
Tengku Zafrul added that through Budget 2021, numerous measures were provided specifically for youth.
Among these is the National Apprenticeship Programme worth RM250 million where each employer is given an incentive of RM1,000 for three months and a grant of up to RM4,000 for training programmes.