Surplus budget for Sabah in 2019 for 5th consecutive year

MOHD IZHAM UNNIP ABDULLAH and AVILA GERALDINE

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal today tabled a RM4.16 billion budget for 2019, with a surplus of RM105.32 million.

Shafie, who is also the state's Finance Minister, said this is the highest surplus in the last five years, which involves an increase of RM40.43 million compared to this year’s surplus.

He said the state government expected to collect RM4.27 billion in revenue next year as compared to this year’s RM4.17 billion estimation state revenue collection.

“Estimated revenue for the year 2019 is classified into three main categories namely Tax Revenue, Non-Tax Revenue and Non-Revenue Receipts.

“Of the RM4,265 million revenue collection, RM1,125.6 million or 26.4 per cent is Tax Revenue; RM2,735.9 million or 64.1 per cent is Non-Tax Revenue; and RM403.5 million or 9.5 per cent is Non-Revenue Receipts,” he said at the state assembly legislative, here.

Shafie noted petroleum royalty is expected to remain the highest contributor to 2019 total revenue estimates, which accounts for 37.5 per cent with a projected collection of RM1.6 billion.

This, he said, is based on the payments received by the state government in year 2018 amounting to RM1.606 billion and is the highest amount of petroleum royalty ever received in Sabah.

“This amount also exceeds year 2018 estimates of RM1.3 billion subsequent to the increase in price and production of petroleum. State Sales Tax on Crude Palm Oil (CPO), which leads in Tax Revenue category, remains the second highest contributor to the state’s revenue.

“It is expected that the price of CPO could reach at RM2,400 per metric tonne with production of more than five million tonne in year 2019. Therefore, the state government has projected a collection of RM900 million from this source,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after the tabling of budget, Shafie said the government would focus on going downstream to create value-added products and generate income to ensure the RM900 million CPO collection is achievable.

To a question whether Sabah would impose a five per cent sales tax on petroleum products in the state like Sarawak government, Shafie said they would look into it.

“Whatever it is we can do to develop the state better in tandem with what’s required by people at large in Sabah, we are mindful of the need of that sort of things.

“So, I’m quite sure being one of the biggest oil producers, we are looking into some of the aspect on how best we can realise that,” he said.

In tabling the 'Driving Growth for the People'-themed budget, Shafie proposed RM4.16 billion for supply estimates and RM934.68 million for development expenditure estimates next year to enhance government’s management as well as driving the state’s economic growth.

The 2019 state budget would set aside RM926.73 million to boost economic growth to further develop the agriculture, tourism and industrial sectors.

Shafie also stressed the state government would continue focus on developing infrastructure facilities with a proposed allocation of RM1.25 billion, while RM238.37 million is set aside for the development of human capital, religious and infrastructure support.

In view of this, the state government has increased allocation for Scholarship, Bursaries and Financial Assistance for student from RM37 million this year to RM52 million next year to enable more Sabahans to pursue higher education and training.

The allocation is now placed under the state Education and Innovation Ministry. Meanwhile, he said RM518.42 million will be allocated to various ministries to implement programme to improve welfare and people’s wellbeing.

The government also allocated RM78.74 million for women development and RM103.09 million for youth and sports development. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd