KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will impose a 5% state sales tax on all seafood exports, with effect from Jan 1, 2019.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said that the tax was aimed at overcoming the local shortage of seafood products.
It's also intended to make Sabah a seafood haven for both local and foreign tourists.
He said the state expects to earn about RM20mil through the state tax, which will also help preserve seafood supply for locals.
Shafie, who is also state Finance Minister, said this when unveiling his first state budget of RM4.27bil at the state assembly here on Friday (Nov 9).
The surplus budget proposes an expenditure of RM4.16bil.
It will focus on pushing a green economy through dual land use, reducing poverty and unemployment, boosting agricultural and manufacturing development, as well as conservation of the state's flora and fauna.
Shafie said that the strategy of the budget is to work towards improving the well being of the people.
"It is inclusive for all and will benefit the people," he added.
He also said that the controversial community native titles would be abolished in stages from December 2018 and land lots under native titles would be issued to the people.
He said there would be safeguards and conditions in the titles to ensure that it won't be abused or exploited by others.
He said that RM35 million has been allocated for the development of religious and non-Muslim institutions as well as missionary and private schools.
The Government has also increased the allocation for missionary and private schools from RM12 million in 2018 to RM15 million in 2019.
On the anticipated revenue of RM4.27bil, he said the bulk will be RM1.6bil from the oil royalty (petroleum) and RM900mil from the state sales tax on crude palm oil. Over RM400mil will come from federal allocations.
Revenue from timber royalty is likely to contribute about RM149.5mil to the state's coffers in 2019.
Shafie said that he was confident the new state government will be able to increase revenue through an efficient state administration.
He said that the restructured state Water Department has been able to recover some RM66.8mil owed to it over the last three months.
The money can be used for the water development projects, including in rural areas where basic infrastructure is still lacking.
Among others, the state will review lopsided deals and formulate a land-use plan that will address the dual needs of development and conservation.
A special payment of RM500 will be paid out to all state civil servants on December 2018.