Minister lays out development plans for 2021-2022

James Kon

One of the causes of “yellowish water” from taps in some areas is the very high organic content, especially during the rainy season, said Minister of Development Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar.

He said to address the issue, water is treated with doses of chemical that are suitable and safe while reservoirs cleaned and water pipes replaced.

The minister also called on the public to clean water tanks in their homes to counter the
yellowish water.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi made these remarks during deliberations of his ministry’s budget on the ninth day of the 17th Legislative Council session yesterday.

He added; “In the budget for financial year 2021-2022, BND24.8 million has been allocated for the management of water supply under the repeat expenditure, especially for water assets maintenance work and BND58 million under the 11th National Development Plan to implement eight projects to ensure a continuous water supply. This will require a huge
financial investment.”

SOCIALISATION OF WATER CONSERVATION CONTINUES

The minister said; “These efforts also need public cooperation where water is used prudently. We need to improve water supply management at homes and offices. These are important to reduce waste and ensure water supply for the future is guaranteed.”

The minister said on average, the country’s water consumption is 380 litres per capita each day.

This is a reduction of 40 litres per capita per day from 2018. This is a result of public awareness programmes by the Public Works Department. The campaign will be continued given that the country’s clean water consumption is still high, which is about twice as much as neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said.

WATER SUPPLY UPGRADES

He said  several efforts are underway to achieve a resilience water supply system through the implementation of projects such as increasing treatment capacity for clean water production with the construction of the Bukit Barun Water Treatment Plant Stage 8 with a capacity of 120 million litres per day, the upgrading of Agis Agis Water Treatment Plant in Belait district with 36 million capacity per day and the upgrading of Bukit Barun Water Treatment Plant phase 4 and 5 which will increase water processing efficiency up to an average of 12 per cent to 18 per cent (33 – 38 million litres per day).

“The storage capacity will also be increased with the construction of additional water tanks in several areas while upgrading of pumps will also be carried out,” he added.

The minister, on long term water supply security, said the use of the smart meter commenced through pilot and live testing last year while the installation of metres will start this year in phases this year.

He said with the implementation of the project and the new water tariff, the issues concerning the delay in water bill payment, wise  water usage and avoiding wastage can be addressed.

Speaking on the implementation of a ‘water supply system and demand study’, he said this is a holistic look at on water needs on the long run, water supply strategies as well as recommendations for more efficient and cost effective management in the future.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said a non-revenue water (NRW) study to obtain data to identify its causes is currently underway.

NATIONAL HOUSING SCHEME CLOSING ON VISION 2035 TARGET

Speaking on the National Housing Scheme (RPN),  the minister said in achieving the Brunei Vision 2035 target of providing 85 per cent of residential houses for citizens and residents, efforts are continuing with the planning and implementation of projects under the 11th National Development Plan for the construction of 1,750 houses of RPN Kampong Lugu and RPN Kampong Tanah Jambu as well as the allocation of 300 units of apartments  in Lambak Kanan H40 for eligible  applicants, through the Housing Development Department.
He said BND65 million has been allocated for projects under the National Housing Scheme for 2021-2022.

PRIVATISATION OF PUBLIC LAND

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said focus is on to boost the economy by opening up government land to domestic and foreign investors. Speaking on Government Land Lease (GLL), which is an approach to release leased government land, the minister said it involves the open bidding process for land that has been identified.

“A taskforce has been proposed to be established to examine this matter, involving relevant agencies to examine the process of assessment, mechanism of land release which involves government lands that can contribute to improve the gross domestic product (GDP).”

The systematic land use plan, he said, is indirectly providing employment opportunities that can change the lifestyle of society to increase the standard of living.

ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE 

On climate change, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said as the Chair of Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change, the Ministry of Development with members of the council  will work to realise strategies outlined in the  Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy (BNCCP) towards the transition of a low carbon society to achieve Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement  to reduce 20 per cent of greenhouse emission by 2030.

He added; “This year is the Year of Climate Action to mark the implementation of BNCCP.

Green Protocol is a guideline for the government sector to implement BNCCP  on January 31, as an effort to open up opportunities for green practices during daily operations such as energy consumption, water supply consumption, waste management and paper use.

“This includes the commitment of all ministries to be involved in planting 26,000 saplings during the course of 2021.

“This effort is also supported by the addition of guidelines to encourage the replacement of every tree that has been removed, especially in the implementation of large-scale projects,“ he said.

The minister said the ongoing climate action efforts reflect the seriousness of the region  as well as a symbol of leadership of the  country in addressing the issue of climate change in the region in line with the theme of this year’s ASEAN meeting ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’.

INTERNAL AUDITS FOR PROJECTS

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi said the Ministry of Development has been given the responsibility to ensure the implementation of infrastructure projects and school buildings and mosques under other ministries which will further strengthen management and regulate projects by implementing internal audit at each level of project so that the project will meet the requirements of specifications and be completed within the stipulated time.

“The ministry also places importance on local business development to provide opportunities for locals and locally-made products to further enhance the country’s construction industry,” he said sharing a number of initiatives to be carried out including digital paradigm as well as local business development.