The state expects Budget 2017 to be less than satisfactory because the national economic situation is not very encouraging at the moment, says Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi.
However, the state was confident that it could carry on with transforming the rural areas and the economy with its available fund without being too dependent on federal allocation.
He described Budget 2017 tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliament yesterday as a ‘continuity budget’ focusing on development programmes that had been drawn in previous year. He insisted that the state could not be so hopeful for better ‘goodies’ but understood the situation the country was in now.
He cited allocation for replanting oil palms and improving planters’ income and plantations as well as fund for furthering the development of Pan Borneo Highway as examples of those continuing development programmes.
He also claimed that he could not see or hear what the most glaring ‘goodies’ for Sarawak were from the live telecast of the budget yesterday.
“What we want is something that can impact the rural economy because the expectation of the people is very high. Anyway, we will see what we can do at the state-level latter on. We are not saying the economy is bad, just that it is not very encouraging at the moment.”
Apart from rural transformation and economy, the other focus of the state was to increase foreign direct investment.
The state was also developing skills of the younger generation, he said when met at the Chief Minister’s Office in Petra Jaya here after joining Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem to watch the live telecast of the tabling of the Budget 2017 on television.
“The state is working hard to produce skilled workers to meet the requirement of the industry players. There is also a plan to develop a progamme for UPSR graduates to become skilled workers to meet demands of industries within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) in Samalaju.”
Dr Rundi, who is also Kemena assemblyman, said he believed Sarawak was in the right track in the development of youth particularly in making them skilled workers.
State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani was also present at the event.
Source : The Borneo Post Online