Budget 2023 focuses on recovery, structural reform

The upcoming budget will see the govt prioritising the people, business as well as the economy

by S BIRRUNTHA / Pic by TMR

THE upcoming Budget 2023 will be focusing on maintaining the nation’s economic recovery momentum as well as continuing structural reforms.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said the budget, themed “Strengthening Recovery, Facilitating Reforms Towards Sustainability, Economic Resilience and Malaysia Family WellBeing”, will see the government prioritising the people, business as well as the economy.

“Although Budget 2023 will only be tabled in the fourth quarter of this year, we have begun the process of engagement to get feedback from the people.

“The government is always committed to continue to increase the transparency of the budget preparation process and encourage public participation,” he said while presenting the 102th People’s Financial Report yesterday.

Commenting further, Tengku Zafrul said the Budget 2023 engagement process was started by issuing the Pre-Budget 2023 statement on June 3 to ensure the people know the government’s priorities for the budget.

He noted that the Finance Ministry (MoF) has asked industry associations, chambers of commerce and various NGOs to provide recommendations that need to be taken into account by the government in the preparation of Budget 2023.

The minister explained that just like last year, MoF will also issue a Public Consultation Paper on the planned Budget 2023 policy measures for public feedback.

“Next, me and my deputies will go to all states to have a dialogue and monitor the situation and needs of the people to get their feedback. This is similar to last year, where MoF held a Budget Tour Programme to meet the people directly,” he added.

Commenting on the week’s financial report, Tengku Zafrul said as of June 2022, more than 150,000 people had found jobs under the Malaysia Family Job Guarantee Initiative which provided 600,000 job opportunities with an allocation of RM4.8 billion.

Among the measures of the initiative’s success is through the country’s unemployment rate, which peaked to 5.3% in May 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the minister said during the transition phase to endemic, the unemployment rate has fallen by 3.9% in April 2022.

“The government’s target for the unemployment rate this year is 4%, but it has dropped to 3.9%. This means that the initiatives introduced by the government have shown its impact,” he said.

In the meantime, Tengku Zafrul said as of April 2022, a total of 257 of the 282 strategic initiatives under Budget 2022 monitored by the Budget Monitoring Committee, had been implemented.

“The remaining 25 initiatives will be launched in the second half of this year,” he said.