RM808m for agri, industrial and tourism
Published on: Saturday, November 26, 2022
By: Larry Ralon
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RM808m for agri, industrial and tourism
Hajiji said the State Government would continue to drive the agriculture sector by strengthening four sub-sectors, namely crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as rubber commodities.  - Bernama pic for illustration only
Kota Kinabalu: A total of RM808.06 million will be allocated in the 2023 Sabah Budget for the development of productive growth sectors, namely agriculture, industrial and tourism.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said strategies and approaches to accelerate development would focus on these three sectors. 

He said the State Government would continue to drive the agriculture sector by strengthening four sub-sectors, namely crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as rubber commodities. 

He said the State Government will allocate RM501.54 million to the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry and its departments. 

Of this, RM69.2 million is allocated for operational purposes as well as to fund numerous assistance programmes for farmers, fishermen and breeders.

“For the crop sub-sector, continuous efforts are carried out to increase the production of various crops to generate income for farmers from RM2,000 to RM4,000 per month. Therefore, a total of RM115.59 million is allocated to the Agriculture Department. 

“The Government’s efforts to help the B40 group and hardcore poor will continue through Rural Development Corporation (KPD) with an allocation of RM20.28 million. A total of 2,015 participants will benefit from the implementation of various livestock and crop programmes. Besides that, the KPD Smart System has been developed and will be used at KPD agricultural produce collection centres,” he said when tabling the State 2023 Budget at the State Legislative Assembly sitting, here, Friday.

Hajiji, who is also State Finance Minister, said for the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector, the Government is aware of the State’s potential in fish production. 

“Hence, a total of RM46.09 million is allocated to the Fisheries Department to continue various programmes on guaranteed production of sustainable fishery products to accommodate the international and domestic markets.

“The export and import trade balance in this sector shows a positive figure in the range of RM600 million to RM900 million every year. To continue stimulating the development of this sub-sector, as the saying goes, ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’, efforts in assisting the fishermen as well as Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs will be intensified through Ko-Nelayan which has been allocated RM14.80 million next year,” he said.

For the livestock sub-sector, the Chief Minister said, the State Government has allocated RM75.51 million to the Sabah Veterinary Services Department to implement programmes that increase the supply and production of livestock, disease control and veterinary enforcement programmes, bird’s nest industry development and development of downstream livestock-based products. 

Apart from that, the State Government will allocate RM16.35 million to the Sabah Rubber Industry Board for the rubber commodity sub-sector development. The payment for Rubber Price Incentives to smallholders will be continued with an allocation of RM20 million.

The Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) which supports the development of agriculture is allocated a total of RM175.92 million. This allocation will cater, among others, for operations, upgrading and maintenance of irrigation and drainage infrastructures, management and development of flood mitigation systems, as well as river bank clean-up and protection. 

“The balance of RM75.42 million will be distributed to the Ministry and other departments that also support the agriculture sector,” said Hajiji.

For the industrial sector, the Chief Minister said, the Industrial Development Ministry and its departments are allocated RM54.51 million to develop entrepreneurship and ensure basic infrastructure in industrial areas is conducive to attracting investment. 

Hajiji said the rapid development of the industrial sector in Sabah indicates that the economy is becoming more sustainable. 

“Sabah has received foreign investments worth RM11.9 billion and domestic investments of RM942 million in the main sectors which are manufacturing and services. This has made Sabah the third-highest investment recipient in Malaysia during the second quarter of the year 2022.

He said currently, domestic investment, particularly in KKIP, has provided 1,081 job opportunities with an investment worth RM587 million, adding the collaboration with the Federation of Malaysia Manufacturing has also attracted investment in the domestic manufacturing sector with a value of RM900 million and has created 3,000 job opportunities.

“Small and Medium Industries (IKS) development is given continuous focus as a supporting industry and a catalyst for the manufacturing sector. The involvement of Sabah Foundation Group and Teraju as well as private companies such as Petronas and Bataras in the development of IKS has greatly helped Bumiputera companies in Sabah to further develop their businesses. This kind of collaboration will be further intensified as it has a positive impact on the role of Sabah SME entrepreneurs in the development of Sabah’s economy,” he said.

The Industrial Development and Research Department (DIDR) is allocated RM6.17 million to escalate the promotion of Sabah products in the domestic and international markets. 

“Furthermore, the State Government will establish IKS Product Centers in Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kota Kinabalu and Penampang. The IKS Assistance programme will continue to benefit a total of 3,343 entrepreneurs,” he said. 

To further intensify the IKS Assistance programme, Mesti and Halal Certification Programme will be introduced to enable Sabah SME products to compete globally. For that matter, the Government will allocate RM15 million for the implementation of this programme.

“Efforts to provide business premises, develop socio-economic shops and other entrepreneurial programmes will continue with an allocation of RM8.71 million to be distributed to Sabah Economic Development Corporation (Sedco). Four new locations will be developed in Beaufort, Matunggong, Pitas and Telupid. An allocation of RM42 million will be distributed to the Ministry which supports the industrial sector,” he said.

For the tourism sector, the Chief Minister said, the Government endeavours to restore and develop the tourism sector through various programmes and therefore RM134.59 million is allocated to the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and its departments. 

“This allocation is provided to implement the upgrading of basic tourism facilities for the comfort and safety of tourists as well as the development of human capital for Community Based Tourism (CoBT). The CoBT Roadshow 2023 event will be intensified to promote and attract foreign and domestic tourists to visit rural areas to generate activities and income for the local communities,” said Hajiji.

He said the number of tourist arrivals for the period of January to August 2022 has increased significantly by 705.8 per cent, totalling to 1,012,119 as compared to 125,601 in the same period in 2021. 

“I am optimistic that the number of tourist arrivals to the State will continue to increase towards the end of this year with more countries reopening their borders and relaxing their entry and exit policy for tourism purposes. Meanwhile, the recovery of the tourism sector will create a spillover effect and bring benefit to the transportation; hotel and restaurant; wholesale and retail; as well as food and beverage activities,” he said.

The Sabah Tourism Board (STB) continues to expand the air network actively for domestic and international flights, said Hajiji, adding statistics showed 96 per cent of Sabah’s tourist arrivals are by air. 

As of September 2022, Sabah has access to 10 destinations via 343 domestic flights and five destinations with 47 international flights per week. Although the frequency of these flights is lower compared to the pre-Covid-19 pandemic, Sabah is still a preferred destination for domestic and international tourists.

To promote Sabah internationally as a preferred destination for conventions and seminars, he said the Government has established the Sabah Convention Bureau which will be operational in the near future. 

He explained this bureau will help accelerate the growth of the tourism industry through the organisation of Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (Mice) and other business events that will generate economic activity and benefit the hospitality, logistics, aviation and other related sectors. 

The Museum Department which is responsible for developing cultural and historical treasures as tourism products is allocated RM17.31 million, he said, adding the upgrading of the Visitor Facility Project at Batu Tulug Kinabatangan Cave Museum will be implemented along with the continuation of Sabah Museum Complex Upgrading Facilities Project.  

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