Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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LegCo members pass BND6.25 billion budget

A BND6.25-billion budget for the 2024-2025 financial year was passed unanimously by Legislative Council (LegCo) members at the 20th session of the LegCo meeting yesterday.

Before the budget was passed, 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 elaborated on the 12th National Development Plan (RKN 12).

The minister said the Executive Committee of National Development Plan, chaired by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam passed 305 projects in the RKN 12, costing BND4 billion to be implemented until 2030.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew also shared the progress of 221 projects under the RKN 11.

“Some 153 projects under RKN 11 will be brought to RKN 12, while 54 projects have been completed. These projects will contribute to improving the people’s quality of life; increasing economic activity and providing job opportunities for locals; and increasing accessibility of basic facilities and productivity in terms of efficiency and the success of the country,” he said.

An aerial view of Bandar Seri Begawan. PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI

The projects include phase two of the opening of commercial rice cultivation areas covering 500 hectares in Kandol, Belait District; the reconstruction of Sultan Hassan Secondary School in Bangar, Temburong District; additional building of Menglait Secondary School; construction of a flyover on Muara-Tutong Highway/housing intersection in Kampong Lugu; 10 electrical projects to strengthen the 11kV/415V system network for the Gadong market area and the 11kV network system from substation 66kV/11kV at Pasir Puteh to PWD Serambangun unit package in Mukim Tanjung Maya, Tutong District.

Others include the construction of Jubli Perak Sengkurong Health Centre and Primary Health Care block; phase two of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium upgrade; water pipe replacement projects and detailed study and management of the non-revenue water division; and digital transformation projects for the National Welfare System (SKN) and Central Account Password Privilege Management Platform.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said 72 projects are in progress, with 57 postponed to the RKN 12.

Seven human resources projects are no longer provided under the RKN due to them being funded under recurring expenses of relevant ministries.

The projects include the i-Ready programme under the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC), one civil service leadership project under the Public Service Department and one vocational technical education scholarship project under the Ministry of Education.

Some 95 projects are in various stages of preparation, with 86 postponed to the RKN 12. The remaining nine projects have not been postponed, taking into account changes in planning or absorption into other projects via consolidation and reviews of implementations.

“As a continuation, the RKN 12 will focus on eight visionary and flagship projects as well as long-term goals to ensure the well-being of future generations, such as those that have the potential to change the socio-economic pattern and help the country achieve Brunei Vision 2035,” the minister said.

“BND4 billion has been approved to finance 305 projects for the RKN 12, including BND1.7 billion for 153 postponed projects and BND2.3 billion for 152 new projects.”

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew added that for 24-25FY, BND500 million has been allocated to finance projects under the RKN 12.

“Despite the current challenging fiscal situation, the large provision provided under the RKN 12 is intended as ‘investment in our future’.

“The projects will increase the efficiency and productivity of the parties concerned, in addition to reducing expenses in the long term,” the minister said.

The minister detailed the breakdown of the BND4-billion cost for the RKN 12 as well as the allocated budget for 24-25FY:

BND974.1 million will be used to boost national security, with BND134.8 million allocated for 24-25FY; BND472.3 million to improve educational access facilities with BND43.6 million allocated for 24-25FY; and BND400 million for improving electricity supply with BND34.9 million allocated for 24-25FY.

Meanwhile, BND309.8 million will be provided to improve housing, with BND41.9 million allocated for 24-25FY, and BND257.7 million for increasing food security, with an allocation of BND43.7 million for 24-25FY.

Another BND256.5 million will be provided for health infrastructure, with BND3.2 million allocated for 24-25FY; BND243.5 million to improve the quality of public services with BND10.9 million allocated for 24-25FY; BND233.9 million to strengthen information and communication technology infrastructure with an allocation of BND55.5 million for 24-25FY; and BND226.6 million for ensuring clean water supply with an allocation of BND43.1 million for 24-25FY.

Some, BND114.8 million will be provided for public facilities, with BND23.4 million for 24-25FY; BND93.7 million for improving the efficiency of the transport system, with BND20.7 million allocated for 24-25FY; and BND64.3 million for strengthening the development of Islamic eminence with BND10.1 million allocated for 24-25FY.

Other expenditure includes BND62.5 million to address the risk of natural disasters with BND6.3 million allocated for 24-25FY, and BND52.6 million to deal with climate change, with BND526,100 allocated for 24-25FY.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew added that a research budget of BND48.4 million has been provided with BND1.9 million allocated for 24-25FY; BND43.8 million for industrial development with BND1.1 million allocated for 24-25FY; BND36.4 million for developing the tourism industry with BND7.2 million allocated for 24-25FY; and BND34.5 million for upgrading and increasing the sewerage system and maintaining water quality at rivers with BND4.2 million allocated for 24-25FY.

Additionally, BND19.2 million is provided to achieve environmental sustainability with BND692,900 allocated for 24-25FY; BND13.8 million to prepare master plans for sanitation and sewerage for Brunei Darussalam, the Brunei-Muara District, with BND271,800 allocated for 24-25FY.

Another BND6.6 million is provided for human resource development with BND66.1 thousand allocated for 24-25FY; and BND1.5 million to strengthen quality assurance centres and accreditation with BND150,000 allocated for 24-25FY.

The provisions under savings ideas are provided BND33.6 million with an allocation of BND11.7 million for unexpected but immediate needs.

“The RKN working committee will monitor the progress of these projects, including visits to project sites,” Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said.

“With the increase in the number of projects from 221 projects in RKN 11 to 305 projects in RKN 12, all parties, including the private sector have been given an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Sultanate.

“Therefore, the successful implementation of the RKN 12 requires cooperation and cohesion between all ministries as well as non-government agencies, including the private sector, in working together to ensure projects runs smoothly with high quality and guided by standards and best practices.” – Azlan Othman