Budget 2023: State govts to receive RM150mil to preserve biodiversity, protect forests

KUALA LUMPUR: State governments will receive RM150mil under the Ecological Fiscal Transfer for Biodiversity Conservation (EFT) this year compared to RM70mil last year to preserve biodiversity, carry out forest management and reduce state government's dependence on timber products.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when tabling Budget 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat on Friday (Feb 24) said the EFT distribution to the states will take into account the gazetting of new protected areas including tiger habitats and intensify efforts to replant trees in degraded areas as the government is determined to protect the country’s natural resources to ensure a better future for all.

"Obsessive and wanton looting of natural treasures and rampant logging are among the causes of major disasters. In addition to pursuing economic growth, it is important that we combine a sustainable and balanced quality of life and maintain the relationship between humans and nature," he said.

The Finance Minister said the 2023 Budget themed Developing Malaysia Madani also allocated a total of RM38mil to preserve wildlife such as tigers and elephants as well as their forest habitats.

"The government will also increase the number of forest rangers to 1,500 people by prioritising the services of the Orang Asli community and military and police veterans involving an allocation of RM50mil," he said.

To encourage green practices in business, Anwar said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will provide loan funds of up to RM2bil to support sustainable technology start-ups, and help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) implement low-carbon practices.

"Khazanah, on the other hand, provides RM150mil to boost the development of environmentally friendly projects including supporting the carbon market and reforestation.

"In addition, the Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) has been improved with the guaranteed value increased to RM3bil until 2025," he added.

The Unity Government, led by Anwar, presented Budget 2023, totalling RM388.1bil, of which RM289.1bil was allocated for operating expenditure and RM99bil for developing expenditure, including RM2bil for contingency savings. - Bernama

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