Sunday, August 7

State govt to capitalise on carbon market potential with private sector, says Abang Johari

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Abang Johari delivering his keynote address. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Feb 7): The state government will collaborate with credible private sector players to capitalise on carbon market potential, including payment for ecosystem services within the legal framework to ensure transparency and accountability, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In his keynote address prior to launching the Action and Implementation Plan (AIP) for the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today, he said the state is practising sustainable management and conservation in the forestry sector that have achieved world recognition and that the sector will provide inclusive growth by creating economic opportunities.

The Sarawak Economic Action Council chairman also said the state has set aside and maintains more than 50 per cent forest and tree cover, which includes national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, and targets one million hectares of private-driven tree plantation initiative.

“The average carbon sequestration of tropical forest, such as forests in Sarawak, is approximately 11 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per hectare.

“Based on one million hectares of high-yield and sustainable industrial forest plantation, the target for carbon trading potential is approximately RM140 to RM230 million based on the current average price of carbon. This is an immediately implementable initiative which represents only 10 per cent of the forestry sector under the Green Economy initiatives in Sarawak,” he said.

On another note, Abang Johari also called on agri-entrepreneurs to increase the capacity and quality of their agricultural produce through data-based and innovation-based commercial farming models and to be open to collaborating with multinational companies that have a global market network.

“We are establishing direct linkages with regional retailers to build direct supplier models. We encourage private sector with capital, expertise and technology as well as off-takers to venture into upstream production of our premium fruits, vegetables, livestock and seafood to be developed from farm to table especially for targeted high-income countries.

“We shall not limit ourselves to just producing fresh products which have limited shelf lives. There are vast opportunities for us to explore especially in agriculture downstream manufacturing activities such as food processing, supplements, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and various bio-organic products,” he said.

Abang Johari expressed confidence that the private sector with their capital would develop their capacity and capability to invest in various opportunities in Sarawak.

“We anticipate more Domestic Direct Investment (DDI) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow to Sarawak especially in technology and innovation as well as digital that will transform our economic structure, increase resources production in a more efficient way to capture scale and efficiency gains and move downstream for export market. This will grow our services sector to support these industries to provide the much-needed high-income jobs for highly skilled Sarawakians.

“Therefore, the AIP of ministries, departments and agencies must explore these potentials and take necessary action steps to facilitate private sectors in realising all these potentials to accelerate our economic growth and development,” he said.

Also present were State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, and other Cabinet ministers.