| Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
This was announced by the Minister of Communications Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat in his budget speech on the ninth day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.
“Of this allocation, approximately $41 million has been set aside for the payment of staff salaries, $26 million for recurring expenses and $54 million for development expenditure,” he noted.
Although the allocation, particularly in relation to staff salaries and recurring expenses, shows a slight reduction compared to last year, MinCom will be able to meet its goals, notwithstanding the current economic environment, the minister added.
According to him, this reduction also reflects the efforts undertaken by the departments under MinCom so far to save money such as privatisation of services that are not cost-effective among others.
“The Government of 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 has never slacked in providing communication and transport infrastructure and facilities in hopes that this commitment will bring prosperity to the people.
“Through MinCom, the intention of the government is to expand the communications sector and improve the public transport system to make them more sustainable and inclusive for the benefit of all levels of society,” he said.
The minister said that MinCom believes that the government’s effort in providing a communication and public transport system that is efficient and effective will also open up more employment and trade opportunities, which will help boost economic growth and reduce social problems.
“Communications and transportation also contribute to various aspects of development such as education, health, safety, tourism, diplomacy and so on. It is like the veins that supply oxygen and food to the body. Without this supply, the body (body of society) will run out of essential nutrients.”
The minister said that as Brunei Darussalam is faced with the challenges of economic and social development, the role of transport and communications sector cannot be ignored.
“A communication and transportation system that is efficient and effective is a system that links the movement of people and citizens from one destination to another for the purposes of trade, education and so on. A communication and transportation system that is efficient and effective is also a system that offers reliability,” he noted, adding that “MinCom is currently actively implementing the Strategic Plan 2008-2017 towards improving communication and transport sectors”.
The vision of His Majesty for developing the communications and transport sector will contribute to the progress and prosperity of the country, he added.
During the budget speech, the minister highlighted the ministry’s achievements in various sectors such as civil aviation, maritime transportation and information and communication technology, besides detailing its development plans for the future.