Image credit: Sinar Harian

KUALA LUMPUR: The 2021 Budget proves that the government is committed to lessen the burden faced by the people amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister, Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said the budget is consistent with previous efforts to revive the economy.

"The overall recovery initiatives unveiled yesterday was drawn based on the people's plight, especially for groups and economic sectors that were badly hit due to the pandemic.

"The budget allocations would encourage the people, especially those involved in domestic economic sectors and the 32 million consumers to carry out recovery strategies," he said in a statement, today.

Alexander said a few of the people-centric initiatives made the cut in the budget.

"We are confident that these initiatives can help the people to weather through challenges until the economy and pandemic situation is under control again.

"Among the approved initiatives are the Cooking Oil Price Stabilisation Scheme (COSS), which received a RM400 million allocation; Buy Malaysian Products programme, which received more than RM20 million allocation; Micro Franchise Development programme and Affordable Franchise Scheme, which involve a RM5 million allocation under the budget.

"Through these initiatives, basic necessities such as rice, cooking oil or RON95 petrol and diesel can be enjoyed by over 1.1 million consumers at controlled prices.

"These initiatives are in line with the KPDNHEP's commitment in helping to reduce the cost of living for the people."

He said the ministry is introducing the Micro Franchise Development programme and Affordable Franchise Scheme which would help create jobs for people interested in the franchise industry.

"These initiatives are an addition to the existing Entrepreneurship Development Programme or Franchise Development Programme.

"It targets entrepreneurs who want to try their luck by venturing into the franchising industry."

He said the Buy Malaysian Products programme, on the other hand, could help with local brand recognition development.

This programme would be especially vital for small and medium enterprises (SME).

"All the initiatives unveiled yesterday clearly shows that the government is inclusive in helping domestic economy chains, while bringing positive impact to consumers."

Alexander said the ministry is also working closely with the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry, Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry and Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to help entrepreneurs register their entities.

This collaboration will facilitate retail and distribution matters, he said.

When commenting on the overall allocation channeled to the ministry, he said there was a 6.33 per cent increase in management allocations, from the RM1.019 billion in last year's budget to RM1.084 billion in the 2021 Budget.

However, he said there was a 15.03 per cent decrease in next year's budget allocated for the ministry's development projects.

"In the 2020 Budget, the ministry was alloted RM78.4 million for development programmes. Under the 2021 Budget, the ministry is receiving RM66.6 million under this allocation.

"The decrease in the development allocation is due to the completion of several development projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

"The 2021 Budget shows that the government is listening to the people, and it is paying close attention to help the people alleviate their burden in coping with the cost of living, while still maintaining some key subsidy programmes to continually support the country's economic resilience," he said.