Pua Will Wage Subsidy Relief Reach Smes In Time To Save Them




DAP Damansara MP Tony Pua has questioned the government's effectiveness in disbursing a RM13.8 billion wage subsidy for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
He asked if the enterprises would receive the wage subsidy relief in time before they are forced to wind up and lay off staff
He was referring to latest statistics given by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz that the government had approved a RM2.24 billion wage subsidy payout as of May 17 to aid two million workers
"This is only 16 percent of the total allocated sum," noted Pua
"Why is that? The companies don't need the wage subsidy so they haven't bothered to apply for it? If it is so, then that's good news for us," he told a webinar organised by a local think-tank earlier today
"But if it is because it is too much hassle and there are too many restrictions (for the applicants to apply), then the RM13.8 billion wage subsidy programme is basically a fictitious number
"The number we are looking at is actually the RM2.24 billion approved for disbursement," he said
He questioned how long would it take for the allocation to be distributed to employers whose applications have been approved
"How long will it take to disburse and if the companies are going to receive the money in time before they collapse?" asked Pua
He also questioned how much loans had been approved by the government and if these loans had reached the SMEs
Tony PuaThe government had first announced a RM5.9 billion wage subsidy relief package on March 27 but increased to RM13.8 billion on April 6
Pua said it is important to monitor the effectiveness of implementing and disbursing various aid and assistance outlined in the RM260 billion Prihatin economic stimulus package
He said this based on the RM17 billion stimulus package announced during the era of former premier Najib Abdul Razak where the take-up rate of government-guaranteed loans was just approximately 10 percent
"The RM17 billion stimulus measure was praised as it was a big package of which 25 percent was the government package
"Subsequently, the take-up rate to this government-guarantees loans was perhaps approximately 10 percent or even less," he said
"So you may announce a big policy amount that (you) are prepared to spend but because of the policy being not well-designed, not friendly, the result is a low take-up," he said
"As such, it is not effective at the end of the day," said Pua. - Mkini

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