Larger budget with prudent measures in 2016

The Government is set to unveil a larger budget for 2016, with an increase in development expenditure and reduction in operational expenditure.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the increase was aimed at spurring domestic economy in light of the current global climate.

“There will be a slight increase in the budget to boost the domestic economy.

“However, we will be adopting a prudent fiscal position to ensure efficient expenditure,” he told reporters after launching the Youth Housing Scheme here yesterday.

He said emphasis would also be given on measures to alleviate the difficulties faced by more than 40% of Malaysians with household incomes of below RM2,500.

“The 2016 Budget is crucial as it’s the first budget under the 11th Malaysia Plan and one towards becoming a high-income nation by 2020.

“It is also very challenging as we have to balance between the current global economic situation and ensuring prosperity,” he said.

On reduction of operational expenditure, Ahmad Husni said that it would not be major but more on prudent management to maximise efficiency.

“For example, there may not be a necessity for a large delegation for overseas trips when such trips can be handled by two or three officers,” he added.

Asked on the ratio of the increase, he said it would be “slight” but refused to divulge details of the budget which will be unveiled on Oct 23.

The 2015 Budget allocated a total of RM273.9bil, an increase of RM9.8bil compared to 2014.

Ahmad Husni said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would chair a budget meeting on Oct 7 to look at the issues highlighted by the respective ministries.

“We have drafted the budget but will look at all the issues highlighted by the ministries before finalising it,” he said.

Ahmad Husni added that the Government was targeting to reduce its fiscal deficit from 3.2% to 3% next year. The fiscal deficit was 4.5% in 2014.

He also said revenue to fund the budget would be based on current global oil prices but would be flexible to allow for a review.

Earlier, Ahmad Husni launched the Youth Housing Scheme for married couples between 25 and 40 years old with a monthly household income that did not exceed RM10,000.

The scheme offers loans of between RM100,000 and RM500,000 to eligible couples and is limited to 20,000 applicants.

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