Sunday, December 18, 2011

Measures To Boost Economy

THE GLOBAL economic prospect is expected to be challenging next year and as such the state government will put in place measures to stimulate domestic economic activities, in particular public and private investments, as well as private consumption.

The International Monetary Fund has revised downwards the world economic growth to four per cent and world trade to 5.8 per cent due to the economic slowdown in the United States, Europe and Japan, inflationary pressures due to rising commodity prices, the European debt crisis as well as slower world trade.

These global developments would certainly have a direct impact on the Malaysian economy. However, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has noted that economic growth in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam is likely to remain robust at 5.9 per cent on the average by 2016 from five per cent estimated for this year as these countries increase investment and spur domestic demand.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said this in his opening remarks at the 8th meeting of the members of the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) here yesterday.

Musa who is also Finance Minister said despite uncertainties in the global economy, moderation in external trade, increased inflationary pressures as well as geopolitical unrest, Malaysia registered 4.4 per cent growth in the first half of 2011.

The growth, he said, was driven by expansion in the domestic economy, which remained robust, and this momentum was expected to increase by end of this year spurred by a more vibrant private consumption and investment.

This year’s growth, he said, was estimated to expand between five per cent and 5.5 per cent while economic growth in 2012 for Malaysia is projected at between five per cent and six per cent.

“For Sabah the projected growth is about five per cent,” Musa said.

Meanwhile, he said to complement the National Budget, the state government has approved an expenditure of RM4,048.28 million in the 2012 State Budget to accelerate development and enhance the well-being of the people.

“This is the biggest expenditure ever in the state’s financial history, and one of its objectives is to stimulate economic growth by improving basic infrastructure and public utilities for the benefit of the people and investors,” he said.

And yesterday, the Chief Minister also announced that the total cumulative investment committed under the private sector-led Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) projects has reached RM63.16 billion as at November this year while the realised investment amounted to RM16.05 billion.

These figures, he said, did not include new SDC entry point projects identified following the Regional Cities and Corridors Lab which were expected to be announced during its open day scheduled for early next year.

“I am also pleased to announce that out of the total allocation of RM1.27 billion for SDC projects during the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP), a sum of RM1.01 billion had been channelled to SEDIA as at November 30.

“A total of RM958 million or 94.02 % of the total allocation disbursed to SEDIA has been spent as at December 5 as payment for work and services rendered for SDC projects listed under the 9MP but carried over into the 10th Malaysia Plan,” he said.

Musa added that the balance of the outstanding allocation was expected to be channelled to SEDIA next year and that during the Second Rolling Plan commencing next year, SDC would be given an allocation of RM416 million – RM206 million for 2012 and RM210 million for 2013.

For the 2012-2013 period under the Second Rolling Plan of the 10MP, SEDIA would continue to implement outstanding SDC projects as well as new projects including entry point projects under the ETP.

SEDIA’s programmes under the Second Rolling Plan will be guided by the SEDIA Corporate Plan 2012-2013 and during this period, it would place greater emphasis on measures to realise planned investment and promote investment in industries with the potential to generate higher value-add to Sabah’s economy.

These include the following:

1: Setting up Investment Liaison Offices/Satellite Offices in designated locations/clusters to provide business support services;

2: Customise investment incentives and develop non-fiscal packages to attract investments;

3: Develop a Research and Development network, clearing house and database to exchange and share information and fast-track access to expertise;

4: Provide support services for Public-Private Partnership programmes;

5: Develop SMEs, agro-entrepreneurs and start-ups through business-links to provide business support services, and incubator programmes to support start-ups;

6: Facilitate foreign investors to partner or enter into joint ventures with GLCs and SDC

7: Monitor, review, and co-ordinate the implementation of projects under the SDC and the Greater Kota Kinabalu Economic Transformation Programme.

The Chief Minister also called on upon members of the committee to assist in ensuring that all planned investment and development projects under the SDC were effectively implemented in line with the role of SEDIA as a one-stop-authority.

The state government, he said, may also consider having SEDIA to function not only as the one-stop-authority for SDC, but also as the central agency for investment promotion and fast-tracking approvals in Sabah

Among those present were Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Youth and Sports Minister, State Secretary Sukarti Wakiman Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary, Datuk Pengiran Hassanel Pg. Haji Mohd Tahir, director-general of Public, Private Partnership Unit of Putrajaya, Datuk Dr Ali Hamsa and state director of Economic Planning Unit, Datuk Ismail Abdullah and SEDIA CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Haji Johari. (NST)

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