State’s economy to grow 5-6 per cent 

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SARAWAK’S economy is projected to grow between five and six per cent this year, said Second Minister for Finance and New Economy, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said Sarawak’s economy was expected to continue on its recovery path as economic activities normalised with the reopening of the international border, continued growth in the external sector and improved domestic activities in 2022.

“Nonetheless, the downside risks remain given the on-going Russia-Ukraine war,” he said when delivering his ministerial winding-up speech at the DUN sitting today.

Uggah, who is also the Deputy Premier, said Sarawak’s total trade registered a growth of 26.6 per cent from RM77.2 billion in 2020 to RM100.26 billion in 2021.

“Exports grew by 29.9 per cent, driven by an increase in the export of LNG, crude petroleum, crude palm oil, petroleum products, aluminium and ferro-alloys.

“We anticipate the prices of these commodities will remain strong and continue to contribute to export growth,” he pointed out.

Uggah added that imports increased by double-digit growth of 20.6 percent in 2021. He said imports of machinery and transport equipment increased by 11.2 per cent due to development growth.

“Better external demand performance is expected in 2022 with anticipation of high commodity prices and continued progress of construction activities in Sarawak,” Uggah said.

He said in 2021, private investments grew by 7.3 per cent, supported by expansion in global demand and the realisation of new and ongoing investments.

“Sarawak secured RM7.1 billion of investments in the manufacturing sector in 2021. The investments in capital and intermediate goods have also expanded.

“Following the continuous recovery in the economy, Sarawak anticipates to secure more investments in 2022 from both domestic and foreign sources,” he added.

Meanwhile, public investments grew by 18.2 per cent in 2021, given the increasing momentum in the implementation of infrastructure projects throughout Sarawak.

“On consumption, public consumption grew by 22.0 per cent in 2021, attributed to higher growth in COVID-19 related spending such as procurement of vaccines and medical supplies as well as emoluments.

“Private consumption grew marginally by 1.9 per cent in 2021, supported by the less restrictive containment measures which encouraged household spending.

“Various types of government aid provided through the Federal stimulus measures as well as Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) have further stimulated consumer spending. In 2022, private consumption is projected to expand further, reinforced by improvements in labour market conditions,” he said.

On inflation, Uggah said for the first quarter of 2022, Sarawak’s inflation rate was 1.9 percent.

In 2021, the rate was 2.1 per cent compared to 1.8 per cent deflation in 2020.

“Food and non-alcoholic beverages remain the main contributors to inflation. Being a net food importer, Sarawak may continue to see an upward trend in its inflation in 2022, coupled with the pressure from escalating oil prices if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine prolongs,” he said.

Uggah added the Labour Force Department had reported that in 2020, 3,002 employees were retrenched while 3,765 employees experienced salary reductions.

“In 2021, 1,035 employees were retrenched while 2,167 employees experienced salary reductions, respectively. Over the last two years, majority of the retrenchments were in the food and hotel services, wholesale and retail, and construction industries.

“However, in 2022 we expect the labour market condition to improve, underpinned by the expectation of continued normalisation in the economic activities.

“For the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate in Sarawak is reported at 3.2 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent during the same period last year,” he said.

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