JOHOR BAHARU, Sept 28- The government is working to halve the black economy from 30 per cent to 15 per cent of the gross domestic product with more effective prevention and enforcement measures, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
This hidden sector of the economy that operates on unreported cash transactions, involving such activities as smuggling subsidised goods out of the country, tax avoidance and under-declaration of the value of goods, costs the country billions of ringgit a year, he said, without specifying the actual value.
“We want to reduce the black economy in the country to 15 per cent as in the developed countries,” he told reporters after visiting the Johor Customs office here Friday.
Ahmad said even if only 10 per cent of the subsidised petrol and diesel, on which the government spends RM24.8 billion a year, went into the black economy, it is still a huge amount, and money that could be used in the people’s interest.
“We (the Customs) should be more creative than them (those involved in the black economy) to increase the country’s revenue,” he said, adding putting scanners at entry and exit points in the country could reduce these illegal activites.
Meanwhile, he said the Customs Department is optimistic of achieving this year’s revenue collection target of RM34.4 billion, compared to RM32.3 billion last year.
As of August, he said, Customs had collected RM24.3 billion, up from RM23.6 billion in the same period last year, and confiscated items worth RM287 million, compared to RM602 million the whole of last year.
Also present during the visit was Johor Customs Director Datuk Ramli Johari.