Youth prioritised in Budget 2022 draft

Putrajaya will hold an engagement session with the youth in drafting the budget, says Tengku Zafrul

by HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic by BERNAMA

THE government will continue to prioritise the country’s youth in drafting Budget 2022.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said the statistical process of drafting the budget has already begun and 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 yesterday.

Commenting on the programme, Tengku Zafrul said eBelia was instigated due to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic to the youth.

The RM300 million eBelia 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 many things.

“This includes the way we make purchases either through online platforms or (for) in-stores purchases through cashless payments.”

He shared that the ePenjana programme implemented last year had accumulated four million registrations of new e-wallet users, while more than 36,000 merchants had registered with e-wallet providers.

“We hope that this momentum will be maintained through eBelia as a continuation of the government’s efforts in driving the transition to financial digitalisation.”

Tengku Zafrul added that through a general survey recently, it was 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 one million merchants online and offline.

This extensive network enables the programme to be implemented nationwide and reach more youth and students.

Meanwhile, Khazanah Nasional Bhd and TIME dotCom Bhd were named project managers for eBelia.

Tengku Zafrul said the collaboration between the government and the private sector must be continued, especially in the success of various initiatives for the people.

The success in launching eBelia was due to the full cooperation of several ministries that assisted the Finance Ministry in terms of programme communication and data management.

These ministries are the Higher Education Ministry, Youth and Sports Ministry, Education Ministry, Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry, Rural Development Ministry, Human Resources Ministry and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.

Various initiatives have been announced to vitalise youth participation through stimulus packages such as the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan, or Penjana.

Such initiatives include motivating micro and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to switch to digital platforms through the RM70 million MSME 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, such as 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.