Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said that the initiation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme will serve as a significant boost to Malaysia’s economic recovery.
Covid-19 and Malaysia’s Economy
Tengku Zafrul added that the country’s economic recovery would continue to improve as the Covid-19 pandemic subsides across the country. This alleviation is the expected result of the vaccination program. He also mentioned that the World Bank expects Malaysia’s economy to grow by between 5.6% and 6.7% in 2021. This level of growth is primarily expected to stem from the global rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations. The projected figure exceeds the expected level of global economic growth in 2021. Over the coming year, the world’s economy will likely grow by around 4%.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic severely damaged Malaysia’s economy in 2020. The economy contracted by 5.8%. This economic contraction also led to the prevalence of deflationary trends. Such trends came about because the pandemic reduced total demand for various goods and services. As a result, inflation is likely to occur in 2021.
The government expects to have vaccinated around 27 million people by the first quarter of next year. This number is equivalent to around 80% of the country’s population.
Tengku Zafrul also noted that the fortunes of several economic sectors would find themselves in improved financial condition when the country’s state and international borders reopen. This would be true of the tourism and retail industries. These industries would find themselves in a better position because of the increased potential to attract customers.
Tengku Zafrul called upon the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as micro-SMEs in the tourism sector to make use of the Penjana Tourism Financing Scheme. Many of these businesses suffered much harm because of the pandemic. For this reason, the government initiated this scheme worth a total of RM1 billion. As of Feb 12, 282 applications involving RM57.1 million worth of financing had received approval under the scheme.
Financial Aid for Drivers
In related news, one-off financial aid of RM500 for school bus, rental vehicle, taxi, e-hailing vehicle, and sightseeing bus drivers became available yesterday. This assistance was delivered under the auspices of the Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Assistance Package. According to Tengku Zafrul, this assistance would benefit around 110,000 people. The total financial value of this assistance is RM55 million.
“Some 20,000 taxi and rental car drivers have received the assistance which has been credited into the accounts of the drivers involved, while 15,000 will receive the assistance in stages by Mar 15,” Tengku Zafrul said in a statement yesterday.
25th February 2021 15:04
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