Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Brunei Town

Government land under the spotlight

Izah Azahari

Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Isa bin Pengiran Haji Aliuddin highlighted the time-consuming process of acquiring government land for development, which has driven some foreigners to invest elsewhere, while local entrepreneurs face similar obstacles, hindering the country’s economic growth.

He believes there is still government land available for commercial and housing development.

He also inquired what action the Ministry of Development (MoD) has taken, its plans for the future to address the issue, and whether the government will continue to generate revenue from leasing or renting the land.

Minister of Development Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid said the efforts now are underway with regards to identified sites and are still being researched for business purposes.

The committee in charge of the project has identified 26 potential sites: 19 sites covering 158 hectares in the Brunei-Muara District, five covering 8.6 hectares in Belait, one covering 2.58 hectares in Tutong and one covering 0.34 hectares in Temburong.

“Once approval for implementation is granted, the sites will be advertised for expression of interest and request for proposal,” said the minister.

The ministry is reviewing proposals from local investors and assessing the most suitable approach to ensure compliance with existing land policies, he added.

Proposals related to industrial, agricultural or livestock activities will be referred directly to the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism or to Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) under the Ministry of Finance and Economy as government lands reserved for these activities have been legally designated under these ministries.

The minister added that a common obstacle the MoD faces when reviewing proposals is the inability of the applicants to pay the lease premium and a lack of supporting documentation demonstrating the sustainability of the proposals.