KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Budget 2024 is expected to drive the local economy and increase the self-sufficiency level (SSL) of food supply in the state, says Federation of Rural Tourism Association Sabah president Walter Kandayon.
He said RM106.14mil allocated for rural tourism development would benefit community-based tourism (CoBT) and further boost the economy in the respective areas.
The CoBT programme, he said, had contributed to Sabah’s development by generating income, creating job opportunities and developing human capital in rural areas.
Therefore, strengthening the programme under the budget, which was passed last Thursday, was a step in the right direction, he said.
Walter said the state government had acknowledged that several CoBT programmes in Kiulu and Kota Belud, as pioneers in rural tourism development, could generate an income of up to RM20,000 per month.
“With a bigger allocation, more rural tourism programmes can be implemented,” he said, reported Bernama.
Themed “Sabah Teguh, Rakyat Terbela”, Sabah Budget 2024 proposes an estimated revenue of RM5.737bil and supply expenditure of RM5.701bil.
President of the state farmers’ organisation Datuk Nazri Abdullah said the allocation of RM813.56mil to support agriculture, industry and tourism would further boost the respective sectors.
“We welcome the state government’s commitment to provide RM18mil for padi field ploughing incentives.
“We anticipate this will help boost the state’s rice production and, at the same time, increase Sabah’s rice SSL,” he said.
Nazri said the state government’s commitment to reviving the State Padi and Rice Board, and promoting padi cultivation was important to ensure food security and reduce rice imports.
“It is also important to ensure that the price of our rice is always affordable and not burden our people,” he said.
Sabah West Coast Smart Consumers Association president David Chan expressed hope that Sabah Budget 2024 would drive economic recovery post-Covid-19, which has affected many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises.
“What we (businesses) want is economic growth in Sabah to remain positive.
“Positive growth shows that Sabah’s economy is viable,” he said.