Johor unveils surplus budget after 2-years of projecting deficit

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi unveiled a surplus budget of RM2.44 million for 2023 after tabling deficit budgets for 2022 and 2021.

The last time Johor projected a surplus was in 2020 with an excess of RM2.36 million. Johor also consistently projected surplus budgets for nine preceding years prior to 2020.

In unveiling his maiden budget, Onn Hafiz said the state was expected to record a revenue of RM1.734 billion against RM1.731 billion for next year.

He said the allocation in the budget entailed a sum of RM69.51 billion in dependent expenditure. The remaining RM1.662 billion was supply expenditure.

"A total of RM1.126 billion will be spent in operating expenses. This involves emoluments of RM 559.54 million, services and supplies (RM316.73 million), assets (RM 27.86 million), grants and fixed payments (RM 209.37 million) as well as other expenses (RM 13.24 million).

He said that Johor's revenue was also expected to increase by 3.75 percent compared to the projections for 2022, whereas the operating expenses for the same period is also expected to decrease by 11.56 percent.

"The projected revenue collection for 2023 also increased by RM63 million compared to Johor's estimates in 2022 that projected RM1.671 billion," he said while tabling the 2023 state budget at the state assembly sitting in Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar, here today.

Onn Hafiz who is also Machap state assemblyman also said the Johor economy was now reinvigorated due to the post Covid-19 pandemic's climate.

He said although Johor faced pressures of economic uncertainty it continued to perform encouragingly.

"The momentum of Johor's economic progress is contributed by four factors which is crucially Johor's stable political conditions.

"It also sticks to its investor-friendly policy that was formulated to ensure it remains the destination of choice for investors. The re-opening of the border between Johor and Singapore from April 1 has also contributed to this achievement.

"While the enhancement of the public delivery system and the development of human capital are also the impetus for Johor's increasingly vibrant economy.

"Overall, I'd like to say that Johor's economy is booming again in this phase of post Covid-19 economic recovery," he said while drawing on the state's achievements despite the war in Ukraine, climate change and inflation triggered by the strengthening US Dollar.

Johor recorded RM60.9 billion or the highest sum of investments for the first six months of the year.

The southern economic powerhouse's exports reached RM246 billion in September; a 42 per cent increase compared to 2021.

It's imports also increase by 49 per cent from the previous year to RM209 billion.

The construction industry also showed signs of recovery in the second half of this year compared to the previous year.

While the unemployment rate dipped from 4.0 per cent in the third quarter of last year to 2.5 per cent this year.

Onn Hafiz said this was the lowest unemployment rate in Malaysia.

The budget is expected to be tabled for the second reading on Dec 11.

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