NCCIM calls for greater efforts in digitalising SME

KUALA LUMPUR: The public and the private sectors have been urged to put greater efforts into digitalising small and medium enterprises (SME) with focus on high-growth sectors as digitalisation will be a game changer in Budget 2023, the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) said.

Its treasurer-general Datuk Dr AT Kumararajah said the digital world has accelerated.

“Focus on the high-growth sectors and I think we will be home in 2023,” he said on Bernama TV’s programme, The Brief, today.

He said the 6.9% growth in the first half of 2022 was primarily driven by the export market, specifically by the electrical and electronics sector.

“So, if we strengthen the SMEs and the value chain, including addressing the labour shortage, I think the government would have done fairly well in terms of (giving) approvals to bring in 400,000 foreign workers,” he added.

Kumararajah said the problem in the economy today is labour shortage and this has resulted in billions of ringgit in lost income in the first eight months of this year.

He said this must be mitigated but bringing in labour now poses another problem because there are now environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives to comply with and this imposes “higher pressures” on stakeholders.

“So, in many ways, Budget 2023 will probably be anchored on areas where we have very strong fundamentals,” he added.

On the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) “gloomy outlook” for the global economy, Kumararajah said this was already factored in as early as April this year.

“It just got gloomier because of the protracted Russia-Ukraine war. Coupled with the energy and food inflation – both in double digits – no country is actually recovering,” he said, “The headwinds are there, but we are in a very strong position because of our internal domestic market.”

The IMF expects the global economic situation to continue to be challenging for the rest of 2022 and in 2023 with an increased risk of recession with managing director Kristalina Georgieva describing the global economy as “extremely uncertain”.

Inflation rates will rise sharply, causing central banks in major economies to tighten monetary policy, the IMF said. – Berrnama