Budget 2018 expected to benefit SMEs, digital economy and M40, B40 households

File photo for illustration purposes

KUALA LUMPUR: AmBank Group anticipates Budget 2018 to offer targeted incentives for households to address the rising cost of living, include affordable housing measures for home buyers and developers, and lay the foundation for TN50.

According to its press release, the Malaysian economy performed strongly in the first half of 2017, with GDP growth averaging at 5.7 per cent supported by a strong export market as well as healthy domestic demand.

This positive momentum is expected to continue into the second half with this year’s GDP growth expected to surpass the government’s projection of 4-5 per cent in Budget 2017 by a ‘significant margin’.

The Budget deficit target for 2017 of 3 per cent is likely to be attained given stabilising commodity prices, healthier tax collection, improving global growth paired with ongoing fiscal consolidation. The fiscal deficit for 2018 is expected to reduce to 2.9 per cent to GDP on anticipation of higher revenue from stronger crude oil prices, solid tax collection as well as prudent spending.

Group CEO of AMMB Holdings Berhad and CEO of AmBank (M) Berhad Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said: “It is our hope that the 2018 Budget will facilitate the advancement of the digital economy, particularly high-technology industries, e-commerce as well as the manufacturing sector in terms of Industry 4.0. Small and medium-sized enterprises together with the digital economy are key growth drivers. These segments should benefit from incentives that can stimulate further growth.”

“To address the current socio-economic conditions, we expect the Budget to continue with targeted incentives for households to address the rising cost of living, particularly for the M40 and B40 category. We also anticipate a continued focus on affordable housing with measures supporting home buyers as well as developers.

“With this year’s theme of ‘Shaping the Future’, we believe the government will lay the foundation for TN50 in this Budget, with the aim of engaging the younger generation. As such, measures to promote technology such as improving internet connectivity and developing the digital economy is expected to be a highlight in Budget 2018.”