Thursday, October 15, 2009

Economy On Track For Full Recovery By 2010

MALAYSIA'S economy is well on track for a full recovery by next year, judging from increasing demand for products and services of late, says Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mustapa Mohamed.

"The business community is telling me that there is some increase in orders, but it will take weeks or months for these orders to reflect the actual numbers.

"The actual delivery (of these orders) is expected either in November or December. That is why we say that by the end of the year or hopefully by next year, our economy will be fully recovered," he told reporters after opening the National Women Convention 2009 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He was asked to comment on Malaysia's international trade outlook for next year.

According to recent trade figures released by the ministry, Malaysia's exports in August fell 19.8 per cent from a year ago but economists are saying that the country's economic recovery momentum is still intact.

On a month-on-month basis, August exports were down 2 per cent from July, while imports also shed 6.6 per cent, resulting in the total trade falling 4.1 per cent to RM38.26 billion.

Mustapa also said the ministry continues to seek more financial assistance from the government to help develop entrepreneur development programmes, including that for women.

"As usual, we will submit proposals to the government for allocation under the annual Budget. We hope for an increase in funding for entrepreneur development programmes in the coming budget presentation.

"But, it all depends on whether the government can afford it. (We will) wait for the budget announcement next Friday," he said.

Earlier in his speech, Mustapa said up to September 2009, a total of RM23.3 million has been spent to train 23,444 workers under the Skills Upgrading Programme by SME Corp Malaysia Bhd and of this, 36 per cent were women.

While under the Women Exporters Development Programme undertaken by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, he said 48 women-owned companies have been provided with export assistance involving RM1.6 million since 2005.

SME Corp chief executive officer Datuk Hafsah Hashim said she is confident that the target of having 22 per cent small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) exporters in 2010 from the current 19 per cent can be achieved, following positive signs that demand for their products is on the rise.

She also cited that the number of active SMEs have risen from 600,000 last year to 700,000 presently, while the number involving women entrepreneurs has reached 100,000.

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