The second phase of Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) payment for the bottom 40 (B40) and middle 40 (M40) groups will be carried out starting May 4, says finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz.
He said the payment will be made to both individuals and households in the two income groups.
For the first phase, he said the cash aid program received 2.96 million new applications and 300,000 appeals as of April 26. “The process for this will end this Thursday, while announcement on payment will be made next week,” he said in a live video on Facebook today.
The first phase of BPN payment, which started on April 17, saw 7.7 million individuals receive the cash aid amounting to RM5.47 billion in total.
This includes 157,000 recipients who do not have a bank account and received the aid in cash at Bank Simpanan Nasional branches nationwide.
Other updates on the Prihatin economic stimulus package shared by Tengku Zafrul are as follows:
- Application for the Prihatin special grants worth RM3,000 each for micro-businesses will be opened starting Friday (May 1). The Inland Revenue Board will oversee the application process, which will be announced soon.
- The wage subsidy programme has approved applications from some 195,000 employers as of April 26, for a total workforce of 1.5 million. This involves an allocation of RM1.35 billion, up RM150 million from the RM1.2 billion approved for 159,000 employers and one million workers a week earlier.
- Out of the RM6.3 billion easy financing fund for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), RM4.5 billion has been approved for 8,500 enterprises as of April 26, an increase from RM2.7 billion approved for 5,000 a week earlier.
- The Employer Covid-19 assistance programme (e-CAP) was launched by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) on April 23. The programme allows eligible SMEs the flexibility to choose to apply for a deferment and restructuring of the employer’s share of EPF contributions for April, May and/or June 2020.
- Employers with more than 200 workers, which need a different solution than what is being offered through the e-CAP programme, may contact the EPF for consideration, provided that the company has a good record of EPF contributions prior to the Covid-19 crisis.
- The RM500 Special Financial Aid for 2.5 million civil servants and retirees, including the non-pension veterans, had been disbursed on April 23. Students of tertiary education nationwide also received a one-off cash aid of RM200 each.
- Application for Danajamin Nasional Bhd’s RM50 billion credit guarantee scheme will be opened starting Friday (May 1).
Tengku Zafrul also highlighted several corporate social responsibility initiatives taken by the private sector including the government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) Disaster Response Network (GDRN) which has collected some RM95.4 million to help during the Covid-19 crisis.
Out of the total, he said RM70 million has been channelled to the Ministry of Health for the purchase of various medical and lab equipment as well as other necessities.
This includes 138 ventilators, 56,000 face masks, 69,000 gloves and over 1,700 personal protective equipment.
On the Hasanah Special Grants 2020, aimed at helping the vulnerable communities, Tengku Zafrul said over 100 non-government organisations have applied for the grants of not more than RM250,000 each. Application for the grants will be closed on Oct 15.
“In mid-April, an allocation of RM25 million was channelled to the ministry of women, family and community development as part of the government’s initiatives to collaborate with NGOs and social entrepreneurs to help the vulnerable groups.
“They include children and senior citizens of shelter homes, disabled individuals, the homeless and Orang Asal communities. The allocation will be spent on food supplies, healthcare products and shelters for the groups,” said Tengku Zafrul.
On the country’s economic plight, the finance ministry said the government has embarked on a plan towards short, medium and long-term economic recovery.
“We are in the midst of engaging with stakeholders to ensure the plan is robust and comprehensive. The support of all segments of society is important in making the plan a reality and a success,” he added.