NEC Strategies To Boost Key Sector

By Xyla Joelle L. Fernandez

Dec 12, 2016 06:00 AM EST

The National Export Council (NEC) has laid out several strategies to ramp up the performance of priority services sectors namely construction, information, communication and technology (ICT), education services and tourism.

The strategies include increasing the utilization of Malaysian construction services in international projects through strategic partnerships between local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational companies (MNCs); driving the exports of ICT services, ICT content and media; enhancing brand visibility of Malaysian education services overseas as well as increasing tourist arrivals.

The services sector, which accounts for about 53.9% of Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP), remains a key driver of growth for the Malaysian economy. The contribution of services to GDP is on an increasing trend and by 2020 the contribution of services is targeted to reach 58%.

For the construction sector, the meeting discussed strategies to accelerate exports and reduce imports by nurturing local contractors to be more competitive globally, pushing for more Malaysian professional services abroad and forming consortia in winning overseas projects. The council also emphasized the need for contractors and developers to utilize Malaysian content (products and services) in their local and international projects. In enhancing the profile of Malaysian players in the construction sector, initiatives such as Malaysia Inc. and Large Corporation-SME Partnership Program will assume a key role to support the industry through close and consistent engagement with stakeholders.

Supporting and facilitating the development of the services sector, the government has provided a number of initiatives and facilities such as the Services Export Fund, Mid-Tier Companies development program and Go-Ex as well as export promotion activities. These will address specific needs of export-ready services firms not only through funding opportunities but other support measures such as consultation, market research and intelligence, as well as export promotion.

The NEC, introduced in December 2014, is chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

The council, with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp as its secretariat, is tasked with formulating strategies to drive Malaysia's exports and to build an ecosystem conducive for the development of Malaysian industries. The NEC meets four times a year and its first meeting next year will take place in the first quarter of 2017.

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