KEPALA BATAS: Incentives and tax relief to spur the agro-based industry may be included in the 2005 Budget, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
He said a special committee had been set up to look into how tax incentives, similar to those given to multi-national corporations in the manufacturing sector, could be introduced.
He said the ministry would introduce a special package to encourage these corporations to invest in agro-based activities and the incentives would be included in the 2005 Budget.
“The ministry will submit a proposal on this package to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi so that it can be incorporated into the 2005 Budget.
“We want to attract big players like Japan, Taiwan and China to participate in our aquaculture industry but we must have attractive incentives for them to come in,” said Muhyiddin.
“The Government hopes to reduce foreign exchange as our food imports have reached RM13bil, compared to the exports value of about RM7bil.
“We have to attract big players to help spur the agriculture sector so that we could achieve trade surplus of RM1.2bil on food alone in 2010,” he said after closing the seminar on Sustaining Economic and Social Growth at Dewan Milenium here yesterday.
The seminar is held in conjunction with the Unit Trust Week organised by Permodalan Nasional Berhad.
Muhyiddin said the ministry would ask the International Trade and Industry Ministry for help so that the best package could be introduced to attract investors.
He said his ministry was embarking on programmes to promote the livestock sector.
He added that there was huge potential in the deep-sea fishing industry as well as in herbal pharmaceuticals and in bio-technology.
“The ministry is also planning to upgrade the existing agricultural training institutes to college-level to produce more skilled human resources in the sector.
“The purpose of these colleges is to create a new generation of agro-workers and entrepreneurs and provide them with knowledge and technical expertise to succeed in agriculture,” he said.