Am­Bank: SMEs and B40, M40 house­holds set to ben­e­fit

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

PETALING JAYA: Am­Bank Group ex­pects Bud­get 2017 to pro­vide in­cen­tives for the small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) as well as the bot­tom 40% (B40) and mid­dle 40% (M40) house­hold in­come groups.

“SMEs form the crux of the eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in Malaysia and it is our hope that pru­dent in­cen­tives are put in place for this business seg­ment,” group CEO Datuk Su­laiman Mohd Tahir ( pix) said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

“Also given cur­rent so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions, we ex­pect the in­tro­duc­tion of tar­geted in­cen­tives for house­holds to ad­dress the rising cost of liv­ing. This is par­tic­u­larly for the M40 cat­e­gory con­sist­ing of those whose salary bracket falls be­tween RM3,860 and RM8,319 per month as well as the B40 cat­e­gory whose salary bracket is RM3,855 and be­low,” he added.

How­ever, while such in­cen­tives may be nec­es­sary on a short-term cy­cle, he also high­lighted the need to learn from the per­for­mance of past in­cen­tives in or­der to de­ter­mine ef­fi­cacy and cur­tail wastages.

“Hence, while it is ex­pected that it will be a peo­ple-cen­tric Bud­get on Oct 21, the year 2017 looks to be a year to ex­er­cise a stronger mea­sure of pru­dence.

“Whether it is na­tional fis­cal pol­icy or in business, cost op­ti­mi­sa­tion and ef­fec­tive util­i­sa­tion of cap­i­tal is the route that needs to be taken in or­der to be for­mi­da­ble in the face of try­ing con­di­tions,” said Su­laiman.

The bank said that Malaysia’s fis­cal per­for­mance has been im­prov­ing since July 2016 com­pared with the first half of 2016, with the 3.1% bud­get deficit tar­get for 2016 likely to be at­tained.

For 2017, it ex­pects a marginally lower fis­cal deficit tar­get of 3% to gross do­mes­tic prod­uct on the back of sta­bil­is­ing com­mod­ity prices, ex­pec­ta­tions for mod­er­ate im­prove­ment in global growth next year and on­go­ing fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion.

“Ini­tial signs in­di­cate that business and con­sumer sen­ti­ments are im­prov­ing moder­ately while the overnight pol­icy rate cut also demon­strated a mar­ginal pickup in loans from busi­nesses and house­holds alike. This in­di­cates an im­prove­ment in con­fi­dence lev­els,” it said.

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