GEORGE TOWN, Jan 31 — The Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) sees the Budget 2016 recalibration as a timely move to handle the present economic shocks.
Chief Executive Datuk Redza Rafiq said the government has always been agile in handling the economic challenges and the Budget 2016 recalibration is a necessary and timely move in light of the current state of the global economy.
“Such measures are usually distributive in nature, will have an element that reflects the government’s ‘People’s Economy’ agenda, and serves to dictate NCIA’s agenda of Growth with Social Equity,” he told Bernama today.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Finance Minister, announced the Budget 2016 recalibration based on the reality of the current economic situation.
Redza said the government’s agenda to ensure that the nation’s income disparity is addressed will see NCIA step up its efforts to work with the private sector to create new jobs and business opportunities.
“The introduction of NCIA’s New Growth Nodes in the Northern Corridor will provide these initiatives with conducive locations in which these companies will thrive and prosper,” he said.
He said the government’s initiative to increase funding for development financial institutions (DFIs) and venture capital companies will serve to provide new sources of financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-up companies.
“This will definitely provide NCIA with additional tools to link these SMEs with the larger companies as part of NCIA’s programmes under its Resource Support Services Centre (RSSC) function,” he said.
He added that the reduction in Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions by 3% is expected to immediately flush RM8 billion to the market in the form of consumption expenditure where this will help spur spending and create upstream and downstream multipliers for many industries in the Northern Corridor.
Redza said the nation’s food security agenda will be given a shot in the arm through the provision of an additional RM50 incentive for each metric tonne of ‘padi bersih’ produced.
“This will serve to encourage the paddy farmers to step up their efforts to work with NCIA in its Paddy Estate Programmes, and will also encourage the younger generation to participate,” he said.
On Malaysia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Redza said that the trade deal will open up new opportunities and the ability to leverage on these opportunities could bring stronger economic benefits to the country.
He said SMEs in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) must now work towards tapping into these possibilities and take advantage of new opportunities that will arise.
Malaysia is set to be part of the world’s largest trade pact after the Senate last Thursday gave a clear go-ahead for the country to join the TPPA.