PUTRAJAYA (Aug 23): The Government will ensure that Budget 2023 is prepared with the people’s well-being at its core by taking into consideration the challenges that await next year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said among the main focus of the budget is to ensure post-Covid-19 recovery, which will include the creation of jobs, an increase in income, and the survival of businesses.
“In facing the global uncertainty, Budget 2023 also focuses on the people by improving the social protection system and increasing the well-being of the people through quality healthcare and education,” he said.
Speaking at the closing of the 2023 budget consultation programme at the Ministry of Finance here on Tuesday (Aug 23), Ismail Sabri said the Government would also pay attention to a safe and comfortable living environment by emphasising inclusive and sustainable development.
“This aims at enabling all members of the Malaysian Family to benefit from the country’s development now and in future regardless of community and residential areas,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said various issues and challenges were raised during the consultation, with methods and solutions proposed to tackle all those issues to be studied in detail.
The proposed solutions include taxation, subsidies and social protection, business continuity and industrial sustainability, including reducing the cost of doing business by boosting the development of human resources, skilled workers, productivity and business digitalisation.
He said there were also proposals to strengthen the cooperation between various quarters to expedite the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level by 2030.
Ismail Sabri the country’s economy showed a strong recovery in the first half of 2022, with a growth of 6.9%, following the Government’s move to implement the transition to the endemic phase of Covid-19, the full opening of the economy and borders, and supported by the expansionary fiscal policy through Budget 2022.
He said he is also confident that the post-Covid-19 economic recovery momentum will continue until the end of 2022, enabling the growth forecast of between 5.3% and 6.3% to be achieved.
“Based on the latest economic indicators, it is expected that growth in 2022 will reach the highest level in the projected range,” he said.
The prime minister said the momentum of the country’s economic recovery is not only seen in the growth of gross domestic product, but also in the recovery of the labour market.
It was clearly achieved based on a reduction in the unemployment rate from the highest of 5.3% in May 2020 to 3.8% in June 2022, among them the result of the JaminKerja initiative with an allocation of over RM4 billion in Budget 2022, he said.
Foreign investors’ confidence in the national economy was clearly strengthened, as the foreign direct investment amount recorded a higher net inflow of RM41.7 billion in the first half of 2022, compared with only RM23.3 billion in the same period in 2019 before the pandemic, he said.
Despite the country’s economic growth in 2022 being on an encouraging recovery trajectory, Ismail Sabri reminded the people that Malaysia is still facing increasingly challenging global economic prospects for 2023.
This follows the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, disruption to the global food supply chain, as well as actions of the world’s central banks to tighten monetary policy, he said.-BERNAMA