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 called for prudence in managing the country’s finances and emphasised on every control officer appointed “to comply with the existing financial guidelines and not use their power or authority to spend the national budget indiscriminately”.
The monarch said this at the opening of the 18th session of the Legislative Council (LegCo) yesterday. His Majesty also consented to the amendment of the Constitutional Order (Financial Procedure) (Amended) 2022 and Financial Regulations 2022, which will take effect on April 1, 2022.
His Majesty highlighted a study, carried out by the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) in collaboration with the Employees Trust Fund (TAP), on a new retirement scheme.
“Insya Allah, the full implementation will kick off in 2023,” the monarch said, adding that all preparations ahead of the scheme need to be carried out accordingly, including the amendment to the Act and changes to the information technology system.
His Majesty noted, “While the Sultanate is still reliant on the oil and gas industry, a number of initiatives to diversify the economy have had favourable outcomes, such as the exportation of refined fuel through foreign direct investments (FDIs) last year that was worth USD4.9 billion.”
“The Brunei Fertilizer Industries also began exporting some 6,200 metric tonnes of urea fertiliser on February 3,” the monarch said. “It will certainly open up employment and business opportunities on the local market.”
The monarch also highlighted the LegCo meeting as a platform to discuss matters pertaining to the welfare of the people and the nation, notably the fiscal year 2022/2023.
All projects that have been listed, His Majesty said, will support each ministry in its strategic planning.
The monarch said the 11th National Development Plan (RKN11) will end in the fiscal year 2022/2023, and the 12th instalment will commence in April 2023. As such, the RKN Secretariat has begun preparing the road map for projects that will be included in the next development plan.
His Majesty said, “The road map will emphasise on the whole-of-government approach to ensure that Brunei Vision 2035 can be realised.”
Food security was also highlighted in the titah, with the monarch noting that due to travel restrictions imposed by certain countries, the food supply chain has been affected, leading to a spike in prices.
“The Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) has been actively monitoring food prices as part of the measure to keep businesses from increasing prices of goods to an impermissible level,” His Majesty said.
Since the second COVID-19 outbreak in the Sultanate, the monarch said the government has extended assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the aim of preventing retrenchment of the workforce, and affected employees in the private sector to minimise the impact of the pandemic.