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KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Finance's first focus group on the 2013 Budget started discussions today on new initiatives to enhance private investments and current challenges given the uncertain global economy.
Second Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said among the issues discussed were increasing productivity and innovation, adopting higher value-added activities, shortage of skilled workers, enhancing public service delivery and reducing the cost of doing business.
He said in view of the external challenges, Malaysia must focus efforts on strengthening domestic demand, particularly in boosting private investments, and not be complacent and remain satisfied with current achievements.
"Issues on private investments have been discussed in many forums, including the recent budget consultations.
"That is why the focus group today will deliberate on the issues and come out with concrete suggestions on ways to boost private investments," he told a media briefing here today.
Ahmad Husni said private investments increased by 16.6 per cent to RM111.8 billion last year from RM95.9 billion in 2010.
This encouraging trend continued in the first quarter this year with private investments recorded RM34.1 billion, he said.
He said the outcome of the discussions would serve as inputs in the formulation of the 2013 Budget, which would be tabled in Parliament by the Prime Minister on Sept 28, 2012.
In total, 17 focus group meeting sessions representing the 17 key sectors will take place in the following weeks. -- BERNAMA