Bioeconomy to review RM50b investment aim


BIOECONOMY Corp Sdn Bhd is expected to review the RM50 billion investment projection under the Bioeconomy Transformation Programme (BTP) after the upcoming Budget 2018 announcement.

CEO Dr Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain said the move to revise the target is due to the current economic climate, which is affected by low global oil prices and hike in prices of global raw materials, as well as the restrictions in technological transfer between countries in the bio-based sector.

“The projection was made when BTP was first launched more than a decade ago, based on the statistics that the industry had on hand at the time, not-withstanding the interference of the current economic crisis.”

“We hope to revisit this numbers again by the end of this year, once when we have realised the achievable year-on-year forecast given the current economic climate,” he told reporters at the National Innovation and Creative Economy (NICE) Expo 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Dr Mohd Shuhaizam said the bio-based industry, which comprises agriculture, biopharmaceutical, bioplastics and other renewable sources secured approximately RM1.8 billion in realised investments to date, from the projected RM2.1 billion for 2017.

“We are hoping to hit this year’s target, which would require another RM200 million to RM300 million worth of investments by year-end,” he added.

So far, the accumulative investments for the BTP — since it was launched in 2005 — stood at approximately RM6.33 billion. BTP is a dedicated platform for the private sector to channel and maximise commercial opportunities in bio-based industries, which has contributed over RM370 million in gross national income.

Commenting on Budget 2018, Dr Mohd Shuhaizam said the government needs to emphasise on the industry’s competitiveness by providing more incentives to further intensify bio-based technologies.

“I also hope most ministries would be more open to work with us to exchange shared information in human capital development and technology transfer for the betterment of the bioeconomy sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bioeconomy Corp aims to capture approximately 25% to 30% of the total market share in the global agriculture and renewable segment by 2018, which is valued at approximately US$10 million (RM42.2 million).

“We plan to source out local firms, which are under the BioNexus status to partner with international players at the global landscape, mainly in countries such as Kazakhstan and Africa, as the demand for bio-based products there are relatively high,” Dr Mohd Shuhaizam said.

Approximately 286 companies are currently registered under the BioNexus status in Malaysia, which mainly operates in the agriculture-based industry, while the rest is in other related bio-based sectors.

Three new companies were recently granted the BioNexus status, where 16 out of the remaining 283 corporations consist of foreign players operating in Malaysia, while the rest are predominantly local firms.

In addition, the wellness cluster — championed by Bio-economy Corp, had successfully attracted over 8,000 visitors with RM30,000 in sales at the NICE Expo 2017, which took place from Oct 12-16.

Dr Mohd Shuhaizam said the vibrancy of the exhibition and activities contributed to strong public interest, besides creating business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

“I am certain that the activities and exhibition held at the wellness cluster will inspire more of our communities to embrace a lifestyle of wellness through science, technology and innovation, which will drive our local innovators and entrepreneurs to continuously develop and commercialise better wellness technologies,” he said.