The revision is made due to shortage of raw material supplies, as well as skilled and unskilled workers
By IZZAT RATNA / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
THE Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) has revised the country’s wood-based exports from RM53 billion to between RM25 and RM30 billion by 2020.
Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the revision is made due to shortage of raw material supplies, as well as skilled and unskilled workers.
As at June 2017, Mah said total export for this segment stands at RM11.5 billion, which is a 5.2% jump year-on-year (YoY) compared to the same period a year ago. In 2016, total exports stood at RM22 billion, which is a key contributor to the national economy.
In 2009, the MPIC had projected that the wood-based exports will hit RM53 billion by 2020.
Mah said it is crucial for the government and all relevant stakeholders to overcome the shortage of labours and supply of raw materials through the adoption of e-commerce.
“The MPIC is working hard to incorporate approximately 200 companies operating within this segment to embrace e-commerce and digitalisation, as it is critical for the upstream and downstream sector.
“Together with Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, we want to ensure that timber-based companies will further take part in the e-commerce ecosystem, supported by the Digital Free Trade Zone that is expected to dominate the digital economy really soon,” Mah said at the National Timber Industry Policy (Natip) 2017 closing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur last week.
“Also, we want to prioritise timber-based products’ export in countries that are a part of the free trade agreement, that would provide special incentives to elevate our export growth,” Mah added.
“The industry needs to adopt more technology and innovation into day-to-day operations, especially by incorporating the usage of oil palm trunk, as this can be one of the source of incomes for small oil palm farmers,” he said.
Natip 2017 is a two-day workshop participated by approximately 160 participants from several different ministries, as well as industry players in the wood-based industry.
MPIC, together with the Malaysian Timber Industry Board and Malaysian Timber Council, will take the initiative to complete the Natip amendments by reviewing and evaluating every approach and target set from the workshop.
The ministry will also implement a national initiative, namely the development of the 2050 National Transformation Plan for the commodity sector including timber industry.