KUCHING: The state government will give more emphasis to entrepreneur development through the newly-renamed Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Ministry.
Previously known as Industrial Development, the expanded ministry will coordinate and collaborate with all agencies involved in entrepreneur development in Sarawak.
“This will ensure more efficient and effective implementation of programmes and projects for entrepreneurs,” the ministry said in a statement.
It added that entrepreneurs, including SMEs, formed the backbone of the economy, while entrepreneurship was recognised as a significant contributor to GDP, employment and exports.
The ministry also said the need for skilled manpower was crucial as Sarawak embarked on its industrialisation programme.
As such, it will work closely with relevant industry players as well as educational and technical institutions to ensure a ready pool of skilled workers to meet the demand of industries.
In addition, it will continue to develop more industrial estates in rural areas in line with Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s “Go Rural” policy.
“This will help to stimulate the rural economy and reduce the development gap between the urban and rural areas,” it said.
Another task for the ministry is to further develop the oil and gas industry through the Sarawak Oil and Gas Development Unit, particularly in value-added downstream activities. The unit will also facilitate greater participation of Sarawakians and Sarawak-based companies in the industry.
The ministry also said Sarawak needed more foreign direct investment to develop its industries.
“One of the government’s initiatives in our industrialisation agenda is the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), which will propel the state to achieve a high-income economy.
“Although SCORE has been successful in attracting 21 approved projects with investments totalling RM30.7bil, the state has to intensify its promotion efforts abroad in order to directly engage with foreign investors,” it said.
Meanwhile, the ministry held a workshop yesterday to review its structure in order to undertake its new roles and responsibilities.
Its minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan attended a briefing on the proposed structure, which will streamline the functions of the ministry and the Entrepreneur Development and Halal Industry Unit, previously under the Chief Minister’s Department.