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BND500 million budget for 211 projects

Rokiah Mahmud

An allocation of BND500 million has been provisioned for 211 projects including 28 new ones approved under the 11th National Development Plan (RKN 11) for the financial year 2023-2024.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah said this in his budget deliberations for the RKN 11 at the 19th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said that the extension of the RKN 11 until the end of financial year 2023-2024 enables ministries to complete projects still being implemented, as well as review the new projects applied for the RKN 12.

The minister added that the ability of ministries in implementing the projects also depends on several factors such as initial work like the determination of design requirements, adjustment of sites, preparation of project documents and coordination of shared-projects.

Among the approved new projects, he added, include projects with a high impact that could increase the contribution of gross domestic product (GDP), projects that could contribute to digital transformation towards increasing the country’s innovation as well as increase job opportunities among locals.

Projects under the priority sectors including agrifood and development sectors have also being identified to generate more economic activities and spin-offs.

From the BND500 million budget that has been provisioned, BND174.7 has been provided for the security sector; BND108.5 million for the social service sector; and BND105.6 million for public utilities sector. Transportation and communication has been allocated BND57.3 million; industry and commerce sector BND20.3 million; public buildings sector BND14.6 million and the miscellaneous sector including finance completed projects but have outstanding has been provided a budget of BND9.8 million. Information and communication technology sector (ICT) has been allocated BND6.2 million; science and technology, research and development and innovation BND2.9 million and the human resources development sector BND130,000.

In terms of allocation of budget according to progress of the projects, BND368.1 million has been provisioned to finance ongoing projects; BND82.1 million for projects in tendering phase; BND31.3 million provisioned for projects still in the design and planning phase, and BND14.7 million for the payment of penultimate payments claims; retention money and others specifically for projects that have been completed, and BND3.8 million provided for ‘Gagasan’ savings.

Out of the 211 projects under the RKN 11, 45 projects have been completed physically, but financing is still needed to cover a number of payments including consultants, final claims, retention money and others.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah during the 19th Legislative Council session. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

Among the projects completed are the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SHOAS) Bridge; upgrading works at Jalan Perindustrian Serasa heading to Pulau Muara Besar bridge; the construction of Muara – Tutong Highway Flyover Kampong Lugu intersection; Kampong Lumut Sewerage Scheme Flood Retention Ponds Scheme; improvement of Bru-HIMS system; and the construction of Sultan Hassan Bangar Secondary School.

In addition, 75 projects are currently being carried out, including projects under education infrastructures – the construction of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei Phase 4 – School of Applied Sciences and Mathematics.

The construction of these infrastructures aim to provide better learning facilities and opportunities for students in the Sultanate.

The budget allocation for RKN 11 also focusses on agriculture, agrofood and fisheries projects such as building additional irrigation schemes for rice cultivation areas throughout the Brunei-Muara District to support rice production, increasing vegetable production using high technology to generate GDP including electrical supply to Tungku Agrotechnology Park and Kampong Batumpu; livestock development plan to generate production including electricity supply agricultural development area Phase 1, Belait District and central laboratory programme for research, analysis, and reference for livestock diseases.

Among the projects in the stage of implementation are opening sites for aquaculture industry including in providing basic facilities for Sungai Mengsalut, Kampong Tanah Jambu, Sungai Paku and Kampong Rampayoh; programme to enhance aquaculture production including improving irrigation systems in shrimp farming areas in Pengkalan Sibabau Zone II in Kampong Mentiri.

Electrical supply projects under the Department of Energy are aimed at strengthening the electrical network system, as well as asset management and inventory electricity supply projects, including network control management, monitoring control and data acquisition systems.

Other projects include water supply projects, construction of new mosques at RPN Kampong Mengkubau, RPN Kampong Meragang and RPN Kampong Lumut.

Meanwhile, 91 projects are still in various stages such as planning, tendering and design.

Meanwhile, 11 projects included for RKN 11 has been cancelled, seven projects will be implemented through alternative financing while another four projects are no longer needed.

The allocation of RKN funds are based on the progress of project implementation or the S-curve of approved projects, which could cause the allocation of budget either to be higher or lower than in previous financial years or previous RKNs.

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