Monday, November 2, 2020

Creating Green Growth and Jobs as a Part of Post-Covid Economic Recovery

The country is waiting eagerly the announcement of Budget 2021 on the Government’s plan to bring us through Covid-19 crisis, to protect the social and economic wellbeing of the people. Undeniably, the outlook is challenging. Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has just reported nearly 90,000 job losses so far this year and if the trend continues, the number will hit 100,000 by the end of the year. In addition to that, we already have 127,000 graduates still without jobs for more than 6 months and the number will keep rising as there are 300,000 new graduates every year. The country is in the search of new jobs and the government can play a big part to make it happen. 

 Income, jobs and growth used to be at the opposite ends of the scale with environmental protection. But it is no longer so as more countries around the world recognise the potential of green industry in the post-Covid world. According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretariat, at least 30 OECD and Key Partner countries have included green measures in their post-Covid economic recovery strategy, and rightly so. This article focuses on green measures that can be considered in Malaysia. In order to create green jobs, the government needs to facilitate more green projects on the ground, reducing bureaucracy and catalyse them by attractive financial incentives in terms of tax incentive, low-interest loans as well as grants. 

Renewable Energy 

I believe the lowest hanging fruit among all in terms of increasing the number of green projects and new jobs on the ground is renewable energy projects. The government should maintain or increase Pakatan Harapan’s renewable energy (RE) target of 20% in electricity mix by 2025 excluding large hydroelectric sources above 100 MW (33% if include large hydro.) Pursuing this target has the potential of generating RM 33 billion private investment and additional 50,000 RE jobs.