By Chew Lip Song
THE second phase of the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) cash handout will be paid to recipients from next Monday.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz today also reminded that the appeal period for the government financial aid ends this Thursday, April 30, Malay Mail reported.
To date, he said RM5.47 billion in handouts have already been distributed to some 7.74 million BPN recipients, including 157,000 individuals without personal bank accounts who have collected their cash from Bank Simpanan Nasional outlets nationwide.
He said the ministry has so far received 3.26 million BPN applications, of which 305,000 are those appealing their statuses.
He also announced that applications for the Special Prihatin Grant for micro-businesses will open this Friday, May 1, with the finer details to be announced by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) soon.
Concerning the Wage Subsidy Program, Tengku Zafrul said that as of April 26, his ministry has approved applications from 195,000 entities involving 1.5 million employees, with subsidies amounting to RM1.35 billion in allocations so far.
Additionally, a total of RM4.5 billion has been approved to small, medium enterprises (SMEs) in loans involving 8,500 SMEs as of April 26.
Tengku Zafrul also announced that handouts of RM500 each for both serving and retired civil servants, including military veterans, have been released on April 23, while the RM200 one-off payment to 1.5 million university students was disbursed on April 27.
He also announced that the e-CAP initiative by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), is now hearing appeals from SMEs, with a maximum of 200 employees, that are looking to postpone or restructure their monthly contributions for March, April and May payments.
“For SMEs with more than 200 employees, if they need solutions other than what is offered through the e-CAP program, they can contact EPF for consideration, under the condition the SME has a good payment record before the Covid-19 outbreak,” he said.
He also revealed that RM95.4 million has since been raised by the GLC/GLIC Disaster Response Network (GDRN), with RM79 million already channelled to the Health Ministry in the form of 138 ventilators, 56,000 face masks, 69,000 medical gloves, and more than 1,700 personal protective equipment sets.