SIBU, Sept 6 — The government has not reached a stage where it would need to reintroduce the goods and services tax (GST), said Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Mohd Shahar Abdullah.
He said this was attributed to the strong recovery momentum of the national economy with a growth of 6.9 per cent in the first half of this year and supported by increased domestic and foreign demand as well as the labour market recovery.
“In this regard, the government is confident that the national economy will achieve a growth projection of between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent for the year 2022,” he said.
Mohd Shahar was answering a question from the floor on whether the government would reintroduce the GST during his ministry’s engagement session with the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak here today.
The engagement session was held as one of the efforts by the Ministry of Finance to obtain input and feedback from the business community to be considered in the preparation of Budget 2023.
Mohd Shahar said in order to ensure the momentum of national economic growth, the government’s focus in the upcoming budget is on reform initiatives to improve people’s well-being, especially through increasing income and social protection, business competitiveness and related value chains, as well as strengthening the country’s resilience against future shocks.
He said the national inflation level for the first six months of 2022 recorded a rate of 2.5 per cent, much lower than the inflation rate in other countries, and remained under control due to the implementation of price control measures and the granting of subsidies by the government.
Following the move to continue and improve subsidies, he said expenditure on aid and subsidies was estimated to increase to RM77.7 billion compared to Budget 2022’s allocation of RM31 billion.
“Without the subsidies provided for basic goods, it is estimated that inflation would reach 11.4 per cent,” Mohd Shahar noted.