Dubbed Pemerkasa (Strategic Programmes to Empower the People and Economy), the programme consists of 20 initiatives, while the government will provide a fiscal injection of RM11 billion.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced a RM20 billion economic programme to jump-start the economy.
In a televised address, he said the initiative, known as “Pemerkasa” (Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy), involved a direct fiscal injection of RM11 billion.
Muhyiddin had previously announced six strategies to face Covid-19 and economic recovery, with the fifth strategy being “revitalising” the economy.
Since the pandemic hit the country last March, the government has introduced various economic packages and measures amounting to some RM300 billion.
He said the government would be increasing the budget for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme from RM3 billion to RM5 billion to speed up its target of achieving herd immunity by December.
“To achieve this target, 15,000 workers will be placed in almost 950 vaccination centres nationwide,” he said, adding that RM200 would be given to all civil servants involved in the programme every month.
He said the government will continue also to provide support to the business community, especially the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to ensure that they are sustainable in the future.
This was reflected in the decision by the government to continue with the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP3.0) following the rolling out of the Pemerkasa assistance package.
Muhyiddin said eligible micro and SME enterprises would receive a one-off payment of RM1,000 each, under the GKP3.0 to help the group pick up their business operations that had suffered following the adverse economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The GKP3.0, he said, was expected to benefit more than one million entrepreneurs.
“Applications for GKP3.0 will begin on April 1 for SMEs, which had never received GKP (introduced under the previous economic stimulus packages),” said Muhyiddin.
The government, he said, had agreed to allocate RM500 million in micro credit financing fund under Pemerkasa, which would be distributed through programmes under Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (Tekun), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and SME Corps.
Muhyiddin said the amount was an additional allocation to the RM1 billion in micro credit financing fund introduced under the 2021 Budget approved in Parliament last year.
Through BSN, a fund of RM300 million would be allocated, with the maximum financing amount of RM50,000, with interest rates reduced from 3.5 percent to 3 percent.
“The loan tenure is for five years, where the repayment will only begin on the sixth month,” he said.
SME Bank will provide a matching grant for small and medium enterprises (SME) to purchase machinery and equipment to enhance automation and reduce reliance on foreign workers.
He said the government would also increase the allocation of RM50 million for the Smart Automation Grant under the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), encouraging more SMEs and mid-tier companies to improve operational and manufacturing efficiencies through high technology.
“To support Industrial Revolution 4.0, an allocation of RM50 million will be given to the National Policy on Industry 4.0 (Industry4WRD) programme under the International Trade and Industry Ministry,” he said.
He said Tekun Nasional would allocate RM60 million under the Informal Financing Scheme, with a financing limit of up to RM5,000 to help spur the growth of the informal sector.
“In addition, the Tekun Mobilepreneur will be extended to cover financing to repair, as well as purchasing new motorcycles, with a limit of RM10,000 (for each application).
“To complement this initiative, locally assembled motorcycles that are 150cc and below are eligible for 100 per cent excise duty exemption starting from April 1 to Dec 31 this year,” he said.
Tekun, he said, would also introduce the Tekun Pos-preneur programme, where eligible applicants could generate income through delivery of contracted goods.
“(For such programme) A financing assistance of up to RM20,000 would be given to eligible applicants for the purpose of repairing vehicles, with a maximum of RM50,000 provided for the purpose of purchasing a van or lorry,” he said.
He said Mara would also implement the Micro Prihatin Business Financing Scheme that will assist 1,000 micro Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
“A total of RM50 million will be allocated for the scheme, with the maximum financing of RM50,000 (for each eligible application) at an interest rate as low as three per cent,” he said.