A Green Field Billion is defined as a Billion Dollars, in this case Ringgit, that comes into a green field project. The concept is not too hard to understand, but it is catchy nonetheless. The real question is what is a Green Field Billion Worth? This question is not so easily answered.
The State of Sarawak, home of the Malaysia Global Business Forum, seems to know not only where to find Green Field Billions but also how to attract them to roost in the land of the Hornbills.
Investments in Sarawak reached RM15.2 Billion, in 2008, the most of any state in Malaysia. In the first half of 2009 Sarawak received investments of RM 7.8 Billion, twice as much as the next nearest state.
The value of Green Field Billions can be best understood in the context of the “Knock-on Effect”. The financial sector sees growth, political mileage is created, economic development improves the GDP, knowledge transfer increases human capital development and even the logistics sector moves as goods are ship here and there.
Most importantly the “Knock-on Effect, knocks on the door of the average man in the street who needs a good paying job to support his family. Recent research shows that for every 100 jobs in foreign owned manufacturing, this creates 100 additional service jobs and 10 further manufacturing jobs.
Government Policy does need to address the “development transition” this is the major challenge of major inflows of investment to local industry, local human capital needs to be ready to face the challenges.
Why not reward success? The Malaysian Federal Government should look at rewarding those states which perform better in attracting FDI’s to the country. Knowing full well that SME’s will need to take up much of the support work, it makes sense to create a dedicated fund that is for the development of SMEs linked to these FDI’s, as they will need to be in close proximity to the incoming investments, it will directly reward the states that do a better job at attracting FDI’s.
This will kick start the second level of development which comes with the domestic market sophistication.
So if you are still wondering what a “Green Field Billion” is worth, it is worth a lot.