EAC: All ministries told to speed up 2021 development spending to bolster Malaysia’s economy

TheEdge Thu, Nov 12, 2020 07:22pm - 3 months ago

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 12): All ministries have been told to start the procurement plan announced in Budget 2021 as soon as possible to expedite development spending and ensure that projects can be implemented immediately, according to the Economic Action Council (EAC). 

It said this in a statement issued after the council had its video conference meeting yesterday, chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, for the presentation on "Federal Government Development Project Expenditure Performance 2020” by the Economic Planning Unit under the Prime Minister's Department.

The meeting, said the EAC, took note that it is very important for the Government's spending to be increased and for projects to be implemented immediately to help revive the country's economy, which has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The meeting also noted the importance of accelerating the implementation of high-impact public development projects that have a significant multiplier effect on the economy. Therefore, all ministries have been asked to start the procurement plan announced in Budget 2021 as soon as possible to ensure that the projects can be implemented immediately," the EAC said.

And existing procurement procedures will need to be revised for suitability during this difficult period, it said, to enable the implementation of high-impact projects for public interest to run according to schedule, thus optimising Government spending.

"Investments from non-financial public corporations (NFPC) are also important in supporting the country's economic growth, especially when private investment is currently not favorable," it added, though it noted that the NFPC's contribution to total public sector investment has been on the decline since 2017.

According to the Ministry of Finance, NFPCs are public sector agencies that undertake the sale of industrial and commercial goods and services, and include Government-owned and Government-controlled companies. Examples of such companies are Axiata Group Bhd, Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd, Boustead Holdings Bhd, and more.

Up to Nov 8, the Government has spent 80.62% of the Federal Government's development expenditure allocation for 2020, which amounted to RM64.96 billion. The progress of development expenditure for 2020 is higher than last year, the EAC said, following the implementation of economic stimulus projects and several other measures to accelerate development as well as the implementation of small-scale projects under the stimulus package.

Meanwhile, it noted that a facilitating committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, has been formed in July to monitor the implementation of development projects and help facilitate the processes involved.

Among key decisions made by the committee so far are ensuring that all Government departments and agencies act as enablers, that existing regulations should not delay the work process, and that project completion is made a KPI or key performance indicator for all ministries' secretaries general and heads of service.

The members of the EAC were announced on March 16 by Muhyiddin. Besides himself as chairman and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Azmin Ali as deputy chairman, the other members include: Minister of Finance Tengku Datuk Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus is also a member of the council, and EAC executive director Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali.

The council also has members from the private sector. They are: The Edge Media Group chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, MERCY Malaysia founder Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Celcom Axiata Bhd group chairman Tan Sri Jamaluddin Ibrahim, Westports Malaysia Bhd chairman Tan Sri Gnanalingam and Sunway Bhd chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.

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