KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s decision to use RM5 billion from the National Trust Fund (KWAN) will be able to expedite the implementation of the National Vaccination Programme said National Budget Office director Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican.
He said this was among the reasons for the increase in vaccine procurement costs from RM3 billion allocated in Budget 2021.
The decision was also made after taking into account the country’s economic situation and the increase in COVID-19 cases, Johan said.
“It is very important for the country to achieve herd immunity. Therefore, the government has decided to expedite the implementation of the vaccination programme so that it can be completed by the end of 2021.
“The decision has also increased other costs,” he said when appearing as a guest on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme, here last night.
The accumulated balance of KWAN amounted to RM19.5 billion as of Dec 30, 2020.
Johan said among other factors that increased costs to procure the COVID-19 vaccine was the government’s decision to engage private hospitals in the immunisation programme which involved a cost of RM200 milllion.
He said the decision to use an allocation from KWAN which was on a grant basis was necessary to return the country to normalcy. -Bernama