Business grants and financial literacy important for vulnerable groupsFARHANA ABD KADIR, DIANA AZIS and NILAM NUR ATIKAH OSHMAN
SHAH ALAM - The government is advised to provide business grants and enhance financial literacy for vulnerable groups and the B40 (bottom 40 per cent income group) to help them break free from the cycle of poverty.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist and head of social finance Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said there are various business opportunities under government agencies that have the potential to assist the targeted groups in moving away from relying solely on financial aid.
According to him, the 2024 Budget should be implemented holistically and designed for the long term.
"Cash assistance is certainly helpful for the vulnerable and the B40 in the short term, but it is not sustainable in the long run.
"Zakat institutions also provide business opportunities, and we see some who have already succeeded.
"Entrepreneurship programs and business grant offerings are available from various government agencies, but do people really know about them?" he asked in an interview with Sinar yesterday.
Mohd Afzanizam said there are many government programmes in place, but communication failures result in some people missing out on existing opportunities.
He added that entrepreneurship is synonymous with helping targeted groups improve their income.
However, he did not deny that bureaucracy in every government agency makes it difficult for some to access business assistance or skills programmes..
"The government must ensure that every assistance provided is managed with proper governance because we do not want issues of errors in providing assistance to arise.
"The delivery of information needs to be coordinated so that low-income groups are not easily deceived, which could affect their finances," he said.
He added that financial literacy is also essential in helping targeted groups and the B40 to make wise financial decisions.
He added that a lack of financial knowledge leads to many people falling victim to financial scams.
"If we want to empower our economy, we need to provide education and publicise existing opportunities for people to improve their financial situation.
"Lack of knowledge is also a factor that makes the public susceptible to manipulation, ultimately preventing them from improving their financial situation," he added.