EPF: RM19.1 Billion Worth Of i-Citra Withdrawals Approved As Of 4 August
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(Image: The Edge/Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam)

As many as 4.57 million applications for the i-Citra facility have been approved as of 4 August 2021, amounting to a total withdrawal of RM19.1 billion. This is out of the 4.62 million applications received for the aid, said the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) today.

According to the chief strategy officer of the EPF, Nurhisham Hussein, the approval rate for i-Citra currently stands at 99%. About 50,000 applications are currently still pending, whereas 551 applications were rejected (including 82 cancelled applications). Among some reasons cited for the rejections include having insufficient savings and being above the age limit of 55 years old.

In terms of monetary value, the total number of applications (4.62 million) amounted to RM19.3 billion. Meanwhile, RM2.3 billion of the approved RM19.1 billion (for 4.57 million applications) has already been disbursed.

Nurhisham further shared that a majority of applicants applied to withdraw between RM4,001 and RM5,000 via i-Citra, as can be seen in the following distribution:

Withdrawal amount via i-CitraPercentage of applicants
RM4,001 – RM5,00079.0%
RM3,001 – RM4,0003.2%
RM2,001 – RM3,0004.2%
RM1,001 – RM2,0005.0%
Up to RM1,0008.5%

Additionally, some of the reasons that were provided by applicants for their withdrawals included:

  • Reduction in income/wage (27%)
  • Assisting affected spouse or family members (19%)
  • Long period of unemployment (16%)
  • Finance daily/monthly essential expenses (62%)
  • Settle outstanding debts (16%)

The i-Citra withdrawal facility was introduced as part of the PEMULIH stimulus package in June 2021. It allows EPF members to withdraw up to RM5,000 from their Akaun 1 and Akaun 2 – subject to the balance in their accounts. The disbursement of the fund will be spread over five months. The i-Citra withdrawal facility is the third of such assistances to be provided by the EPF to those who need help, with the initial two being i-Lestari (withdrawal from Akaun 2) and i-Sinar (withdrawal from Akaun 1).

Moreover, these facilities are on top of other Covid-19-related initiatives, including a reduction of employees’ EPF contribution rate between April 2020 to December 2021 and the e-CAP deferment of employers’ contributions.

(Image: Malay Mail/Ham Abu Bakar)

With regard to the impact of the programmes on the EPF’s cashflow and investment, Nurhisham said that the provident fund is managing it. “We have sufficient cash for these programmes and it is not heavily impacting investment at the moment. We do have a plan in terms of managing the liquidity as well as cash flow of the EPF,” he said.

Nurhisham also reiterated that it is unlikely for the withdrawals through these facilities to affect returns to members. “The withdrawals affect both sides – the amount we need to generate in return is also reduced, so it balances out quite well. The only thing is that we need to carry a little bit more cash, but that’s marginal when compared to the entire returns of the portfolio,” he explained.

(Source: The Edge Markets)

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