GST helps cut reliance on oil revenue: Najib

GST helps cut reliance on oil revenue: Najib

The cutting of fuel subsidies and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are among measures taken to reduce the nation's dependence on oil and gas revenues, the Prime Minister said.

While reducing fuel subsidies has freed up more than RM20bil in ­annual spending that will go towards the country's ­development, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) said the introduction of the GST last month would further diversify the Government's revenue.

He told delegates attending the 18th Asia Oil & Gas Conference that the drop in the price of crude oil has implications for many governments.

Najib said Malaysia has adjusted the assumption in its 2015 Budget from US$105 (RM375) down to US$55 (RM196) per barrel of crude.

"For the past few years, my government has been working to strengthen our economic fundamentals and fiscal positions, to broaden our revenue streams and reduce the country's dependence on revenues from oil and gas.

"Although about one-third of the country's revenue source has taken a hit, the low oil price also means that Malaysia's exports have become more competitive.

"It has also brought opportunities to make timely changes and set reforms in place. Both these measures (lifting of subsidies and implementing the GST) will further strengthen the resilience of our economy," Najib said.

The Prime Minister said the low oil prices, however, could provide other opportunities and should spur innovation, adding that this would be the time for a greater demand for cost-saving technologies and ­services.

Renewable energy source companies, he said, should be investing in improving their production methods, making them cheaper and ensuring that renewable energy would be even more appealing when oil prices rebound.

On problems caused by the surplus in oil supply, Najib said that economies should look at measures to stimulate growth that would elevate demand rather than look at ways to curb those surpluses.

He made three key points - energy is essential in supporting growth; Asia continues to be a force for future growth; and the key to sustainable development is to make the most of the opportunities, to ­innovate and reform.

"Within ASEAN, promoting innovative and smart technologies will not only increase energy efficiency, but will boost competitiveness in the industries.

"In the advent of the Economic Community, the potential for collaborations in an environment where we are removing tarriffs, opening borders and the breaking down of barriers to trade is limitless."

The Prime Minister also paid tribute to Petronas, stating that Malaysia was proud of how the national company has grown over its 40 years.

It has emerged as one of the "new seven sisters" of the oil and gas industry, and ranked sixth most-profitable oil and gas company - second in Asia - according to Fortune Global 2014, he said.

"The close ties between Petronas and the Government have been mutually beneficial.

"The partnership has enabled the company to enter new ­markets across the continents and its ­contribution to nation-building is universally acknowledged.

"As someone who began his career as a junior executive at Petronas, I take pride in its achievements and regard the company as crucial to my government's work in promoting a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future for all in Malaysia."

 

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