KOTA KINABALU (WED): Despite Sabah’s socio-economic setback during the Covid-19 pandemic, the state’s economy is expected to continue with a positive recovery and rapid development growth in 2023, following the tabling of the Sabah State Budget by Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Bin Haji Noor on 25th November 2022. The cabinet has approved an allocation of RM5.138 billion.
According to IDS CEO, YBhg. Datuk Ts. Dr. Ramzah Dambul, in aligning the state budget with a holistic development direction, a bottom-up approach would be the best mechanism for Sabah’s growth through the mobilisation of the grassroot economy. The state budget highlighted the transparency of dispersing the allocated funds, including the efficiency to disburse the fundings to the respective ministries. However, the full mechanism to productively utilise the allocated funds has to be thoroughly mapped out, in order to maximise the state’s resources. “As a think tank to the State Government, IDS foresee solutions and policies for many fundamental social and economic development issues as key enablers for the state’s economic transformation, in line with Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) development plans,” Datuk Ramzah elaborated.
“Building towards establishing a strong grassroot economy in Sabah, district development framework has to be strengthened to realign our bottom-up policies so that they match with the strength of each district”. He further explained, adding that the RM204 million and RM212.63 million allocated to Ministry of Local Government and Housing, and Ministry of Rural Development respectively, aspires to create a balanced region through heightening rural economic activities. As one of the pillars for the SMJ Thrust, RM134.59 million has been allocated to develop the tourism industry, and additional fundings for Community Based Tourism.
“Grassroot economy is receiving major traction on the state’s development strategy, as more fundings are channelled towards development of the cross-sectoral rural economic activities”. Datuk Ramzah added, this could also be a key enabler for the state’s human capital plans in addressing youth unemployment in Sabah with a record of 9.1%. The focus on the grassroot economy would create a sustainable economic growth that could generate more job opportunities. Sabah Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation are also actively identifying framework for various types of innovation, including grassroot innovation designed to address the needs of poorer marginalised groups.
“The Institute plays a key role to be the connector between the government and all its agencies, the industry and the public in mapping out the best feasible strategy for the state to fully maximise its allocated funds and its resources,” Datuk Ramzah said, concluding that IDS will mobilise its research capacity to assist the Sabah State Government in making the most of the Sabah budget allocation.