KUCHING: Sarawak achieved its highest revenue last year with RM11.9bil, exceeding the estimated amount by nearly RM2bil, says Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The Premier said the actual revenue surpassed the projected figure of RM10.2bil by 17%.
"We budgeted an estimated income of RM10.2bil but it turned out the actual revenue was nearly RM1.2bil, giving us a surplus of RM1bil to the state budget last year," he told a press conference at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly complex here on Thursday (Feb 2).
Abang Johari said the figure did not include the RM300mil special grant from the Federal Government announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last month.
"The RM300mil is for this year, so based on that we expect the 2023 revenue to be more than RM1.2bil.
"I want to stress that it is the 2022 revenue which is beyond our expectations," he said.
Abang Johari said Sarawak's revenue mainly comprised tax revenue, non-tax revenue, non-revenue receipts and federal grants and reimbursements.
Tax revenue contributed RM6.7bil or 56% to the total revenue last year, of which RM5.6bil came from state sales tax (SST) on oil and gas products, oil palm products, aluminium and other taxable products.
The improved performance in SST collection was due to higher market prices in 2022 for oil and gas products and oil palm products, Abang Johari said.
He added that Sarawak’s revenue in 2018, prior to the introduction of SST on oil and gas products, stood at RM7.2bil.
"Therefore, the revenue performance for the financial year 2022 saw an increase of 65% compared to that of 2018," he said.
Abang Johari also said the state government would continue to look into key initiatives to increase Sarawak’s revenue by enhancing and diversifying its revenue sources.
He said new initiatives introduced last year included enforcing the state’s dividend policy on statutory bodies and government-linked companies and imposing SST on coal.
"These efforts are imperative as the state government continues to pursue its development agenda for Sarawak to become a high-income economy by 2030 as clearly outlined in the post-Covid-19 development strategy 2030," he said.
Abang Johari also announced that the state government was extending electricity bill discounts under the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) financial aid package until June this year.
He said this would involve a sum of RM200mil on discounts of 5% to 25% for domestic, commercial and industrial users.