Source from: New Straits Times, Original Article
PUTRAJAYA: The government wants to simplify and expedite the approval of investment applications to boost economic growth.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said: “We see traders and investors finding it tough in obtaining the necessary permission to invest and contribute to the nation’s economic development.”
Dr Mahathir said Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar had been instructed to revisit and reduce the number of processes as well as agencies involved in assessing investment proposals.
He said this would reduce the time taken for approval, especially in the industrial and construction-related sectors.
“In the construction sector for example, we found that up to 60 processes must be satisfied for approval.
“We are now studying this to ease the process of doing business.
“Sometimes, in some places, it takes three years and this will cost investors because they have to negotiate for loans.”
Dr Mahathir said these were among the measures discussed and adopted during the third meeting of the Economic Action Council, here, today.
The prime minister also proposed the use of workflow charts to outline the process and identify the agencies involved in the approval of investments.
Dr Mahathir said the council had also discussed measures to reduce poverty among paddy farmers who required heavy subsidies to stay afloat.
He said they were not getting good returns because the farms were too small, the farming methods were inefficient and farmers were not utilising their land fully.
“For example, we found that each acre of land can produce up to eight tonnes, but they only produce four tonnes.”
Dr Mahathir said the government allocated some RM1.8 billion annually in subsidies for about 200,000 paddy farmers.
“This is too costly. We want them to produce more per acre.
“At the same time, to overcome poverty among paddy farmers, we can’t just force them to plant only rice. “They could be involved, for example, in cultivating cash crops.
“Some cash crops can be harvested three or four times a year and provide better returns than paddy.”
He said food security must also be taken into account while helping to increase farmers’ earnings.
“At the same time, we should not pass on the costs to consumers with price hikes in order to enrich farmers,” he added.
On the implementation of a targeted fuel subsidy, Dr Mahathir said the government was still gathering data.
“We are only at the stage of getting the data. No decision has been made yet,” he added.
In the 2019 Budget, RM2 billion was allocated for the government to implement the targeted petrol subsidy by July this year.