MPRT allocated BND118.5M budget

Rokiah Mahmud

The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) has been allocated a BND118.5 million budget, which includes provisions of BND49.9 million for annual development expenditure.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong revealed this at the eighth day of the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

The minister also highlighted that Brunei’s agriculture, fishery, forestry and tourism sectors have notched achievements throughout last year.

He said the provision of BND37 million budget allocation will be used to fund projects carried out by the ministry, including BND15.7 million for the paddy repurchase scheme and hybrid paddy; BND3.9 million for asset management under the Agriculture Department; BND1 million for flood prevention works and water irrigations facilities at agricultural areas; and BND4.6 million to fund accreditation programmes – including veterinary laboratory services to ensure safety of livestock products.

Meanwhile, under the 11th National Development Plan, BND49.9 million has been allocated for various projects, including BND8 million for agricultural development for the opening of the second phase of paddy agricultural areas in Kandul, Belait District; BND3.8 million for the construction of water irrigation scheme in all districts; BND10 million for high-technology vegetation productions; BND17 million for the livestock industry development; BND7.2 million for the aquaculture land; and BND1.5 million for the tourism industry and tourism products empowerment.

MPRT has taken on several initiatives, among them public private partnership (PPP). One example is in the fishery sector, through a request for proposal (RFP), the ministry appointed Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC) – government-link company (GLC), with Darussalam Assets (DA) Sdn Bhd and Beibu Group – a company under the People’s Republic of China to build, manage and maintain the Fish Landing Complex in Muara at a cost of BND28 million. The project does not utilise the government budget and is solely borne by the private sector.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong speaks at the Legislative Council session. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali shared the total output achieved throughout 2020. The total output of broilers increased by 7.24 per cent to 26, 364.82 metric tonnes – the highest level of production achieved; the production of chicken egg increased by 7.71 per cent to 171.93 million; buffalo and cow meat increased in terms of production by 46.67 per cent to 2,148.75 metric tonnes; rice productions increased by 67.4 per cent to 2, 511.31 metric tonnes.

The total rice imports had declined, however, by 6.02 per cent to 24,082.08 metric tonnes; tropical vegetation declined by 10.72 per cent to 8,507.95 metric tonnes, tropical fruits by 26.5 per cent to 7,214 metric tonnes, while fish and shrimp production increased by 10 per cent to 16,120 metric tonnes.

In terms of self-sufficiency, Brunei Darussalam is, on average, almost 100 per cent self-sufficient in the broiler sector, 100 per cent self-sufficient in the supply of chicken eggs and 62 per cent self-sufficiency in the supply of buffalo and cow meat.

In the crops sector, the country is 67 per cent self-sufficient in the supply of tropical vegetables; 46 per cent self-sufficient in the supply of tropical fruits. The paddy sector contributed 8.23 per cent and the fishery sector contributed 81 per cent towards self-sufficiency.

In the tourism sector, total tourist arrivals via air to the country decreased from 333,240 in 2019 to around 62,000 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. To ensure continuity in the tourism sector, the Tourism Development Department has collaborated with stakeholders to promote domestic tourism and local food promotions in all districts.

Touching on employment opportunities, the minister noted that the agricultural and agrifood sectors contributed 8,184 jobs (42 per cent taken up by locals); fishery sector provide 2,995 jobs (made up of 65 per cent locals) and the forestry sector, with 667 jobs (22 per cent locals).