Sunday, March 19, 2017

Brunei Development Budget 2017/2018 - $1 billion


$1 billion for 10th NDP
on: March 19, 2017

| Hakim Hayat |

THE slower pace of economic growth due to global oil price woes and a tight overall budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal did not deter the government to do a pump-priming to catalise the economy.

A budget totalling $1 billion has been proposed to fund projects and programmes under the 10th National Development Plan (NDP) during the new financial year, a 30 per cent increase compared to the $700 million allocated for the 2016-17 NDP.

This was announced by YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Minister of Finance II, on the 10th day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

During the budget deliberation, he said that the new financial year’s proposed budget for the 10th NDP has been devised to sustain the focus and priorities of the budget theme for 2017-2018 which emphasises objective spending to support sustainable economic growth.

The distribution of the budget will focus on the commitment for completed projects with liability and ongoing projects, while projects that are in the process of bidding/design/planning will be given priority only if they are in line with the new financial year budget’s focus, the minister said.He added that 24.8 per cent of the allocation will be for completed projects with liabilities while 73.4 per cent will go to projects that are in progress and 1.7 per cent will be for projects that are still in bidding/design/planning stages.

The allocation will also take into account the focus on a number of main sectors, with the transportation and communications sector getting the largest share of 37.8 per cent. Industry and trade sector will receive 19 per cent.

The social services sector will be allocated 9.8 per cent of the budget while the public consumption sector will have a 6.4 per cent share.

The science, information technology, research, development and innovation sector will be allocated 1.1 per cent of the budget while one per cent will be earmarked for the security sector.

The public building sector will receive a budget share of 0.3 per cent.

Earlier in the speech, the minister said the NDP is envisioned to support the country’s economic diversification policies and boost the source of national revenue.

“It does not just pave the way for growth of the private sector, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and support the ease of doing business initiatives in the country, but what’s more visible today is a change in mindset among the people, which is evident from the emergence of new entrepreneurs among the youth who are contributing to the country’s economic activities,” he added.

The minister also informed the session that out of the 567 projects under the 10th NDP, 416, or 73.5 per cent, have been completed while 13.2 per cent are still in various stages of implementation.

Some 41 projects are still in bidding process while 35 projects are in design and planning stages.

He revealed that until the end of February 2017, the actual expenditure under the 10th NDP during the last financial year stands at 90.3 per cent of the original allocation of $700 million.

This brings the total expenditure so far for the 10th NDP to over $5 billion to date.

The minister also highlighted some of the efforts made by the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) to ensure the projects are being completed according to schedule, adding that close monitoring of their progress will continue.

JPKE will also continuously assess the suitability of planned projects so that they will be sustainable and effective in realising the socio-economic growth of the country and ensuring that all purchases are made according to the allocated budget.

The 13th LegCo session was adjourned to tomorrow morning, where the members are expected to deliberate on the 10th NDP budget before it is approved.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Brunei's Permanent and Deputy Permanent Secretaries (Updated 18 March 2017)

Two new Permanent Secretary and Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Development has been announced.

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PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Dato Paduka Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)*
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Media and Cabinet)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Industry)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Capt (Rtd) Abdul Rahman bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad (Management and International)
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong*
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman Teo*

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Higher Education)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh (Core Education)*

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Dr. Haji Abd Manaf bin Haji Metussin

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil*
Haji Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)*
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab (IT, E-Government and Industry)*

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Capt. (R) Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noeh (Technology)
Pengiran Hajah Zety Sufina bte Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sani (Finance and Administration)*

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Pengiran Nirmala binti Pengiran Mohamed (Performance and Compliance)*
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid (Investment)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Haji Osman bin Haji Mohd Yusof
Haji Mohd Yusra bin Haji Mohd Salleh

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Azman bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned (Policy and Religion)
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah (Administration and Finance)

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Dr Nor Imtihan bte Haji Abd Razak*

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Wardi bin Md Ali

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
--Vacant--

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
--Vacant--

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle
Dr. Hajah Maslinah bte Haji Mohsin*

*Women

Brunei Minister of Communications: MOC Budget for 2017/2018 $122 million


MinCom gets $122M
on: March 17, 2017

| Abdul Hakiim Yakof |

THE Ministry of Communications (MinCom) has been allocated a budget of 122.28 million for the 2017-2018 financial year.

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.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Friday, March 17, 2017

Brunei Minister of Health: Budget for Health $323.8 million


$323.8M for health
on: March 16, 2017

| Azaraimy HH |

THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has received a budget allocation of $323.88 million, including $7,766,900 for development expenditure, for the 2017-18 financial year.

This was stated by the Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi in his opening speech on the eighth day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

The minister expressed his gratitude to 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 for the allocation and His Majesty’s leadership which gives a high importance to matters concerning health.

Quoting from His Majesty’s titah, the minister said, “Health is the most important factor for all. If the body is healthy, all works can be carried out well. This is the secret or value of health.”

He added, “As it was said during the 12th LegCo session in 2016, the expenditure for the Ministry of Health during the 2015-2020 period is focused on three strategies: Inculcating the idea that health is everyone’s business; preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases; and providing excellent services through consolidation and realignment of healthcare services. The minister said several efforts in line with these three priorities have been implemented including the consolidation of several health centres to provide services on a one-stop centre basis; amalgamation of EMAS (Emergency, Medical and Ambulance Service) with the Department of Fire and Rescue; reducing waiting time for several health services; and establishment of ‘Centre of Excellence’.

He also highlighted international standard recognitions such as ISO 17025 for lab services and the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation for Pengkalan Batu Health Centre, the first health centre in the country to get the accreditation.

Despite these achievements, the ministry is aware that much still needs to be done and challenges need to be overcome in order to fulfil the expectations of all the stakeholders, he added.

Customer-friendliness, long waiting time at the medicine counters, obtaining treatment at emergency departments as well as shortage of medicines are some of the issues that have been lamented over by the public, the minister said.

He pointed out that the recent meetings held in every district with internal and external stakeholders including members of the Legislative Council focused on seven themes – customer-friendliness, food safety, communication, health promotion, access to services and facilities, medicine retrieval and quality services including provision of appointment system.

Highlighting some of the health studies carried in the country, the minister said the integrated Health Screening 2007-2011 revealed that 70 per cent of the civil servants do not have adequate physical activity. The Global School Health Survey (GSHS) 2014 showed that about 87 per cent of children in the country do not have enough physical activity.

At the same time, the minister pointed out that the incidence of diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes are now occurring at a much younger age of around 20-30 years, adding that “this is an alarming situation”.

Furthermore, the Global Nutrition Report 2016 has placed Brunei Darussalam as having the highest obesity rate among adults in the region. Excessive weight can cause non-communicable diseases such as cancer, coronary ailments, diabetes and stroke – the main causes of death in the country, he noted.

The minister said that the health ministry allocation for 2017-2018 will be used effectively to reduce the high rate of obesity and incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country. Nearly $196 million, or 62 per cent, of the allocation is for secondary and tertiary treatments. This amount does not include the allocation for sending patients to The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC), Brunei Neuroscience, Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC) and the Heart Centre at the Gleneagles Jerudong Park Medical Centre (Gleneagles JPMC).

He said the allocation to finance preventive programmes including basic healthcare is only 14 per cent, which is less but it enough to give a big impact, adding that it would be better if we can focus more towards enhancing a healthy lifestyle, ensuring that people will stay healthy for a longer period.

On the other hand, the minister also highlighted that there has been an increase in the number of people who are health conscious and doing physical activities. The National Non-Communicable Diseases Steps Survey 2016 has proved this as it found that the percentage of adults in the country who are physically active has increased from 65 per cent in 2011 to 75 per cent in 2016.

Citing the Bandarku Ceria initiative, the minister said that it is a good example which has proved the efficacy of the whole of nation approach.

He said the government is only a facilitator, while individuals and groups are the drivers to ensure that Bandarku Ceria continues to be successful, promoting a healthy lifestyle.

He also highlighted that changing people’s food habits is the biggest challenge the country is currently facing. On this note, the minister welcomed the Ministry of Finance’s decision to raise excise duties on food products that have high sugar and monosodium glutamate (MSG) content.

The minister urged that all efforts should be taken in inculcating a healthy lifestyle among the people towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Brunei Minister of Culture, Youth & Sports: Budget MCYS $76.3 million


MCYS receives $76.33M budget
on: March 16, 2017

| Rokiah Mahmud |

THE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has been allocated a budget of $76.33 million for the financial year 2017-2018, YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, announced during his budget speech on the eighth day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

The allocated budget for the ministry is less than $8.79 million compared to the $85.13 million which the ministry received for the 2016-2017 fiscal.

Despite the cuts, the minister said that MCYS will optimise and prioritise its multi-level mechanism for consultation, coordination, monitoring as well as programme evaluation by establishing more cooperation with other government ministries and departments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector towards achieving a higher level of success.

For the new financial year, he explained that his ministry has prioritised four main areas – culture, youth, sports and community.

In the area of culture, MCYS will strive to further preserve the nation’s culture, history and heritage that are regarded as the pillars of national unity and identity, while in the field of youth, the ministry will focus on enhancing the youth’s self-esteem so that they could be more independent and able to contribute towards the country’s development and well-being, the minister said.For this, the minister said MCYS will carry out more engagement programmes by reaching out to as many youth as possible either through associations, Mukim and Village Consultative Council, schools and higher learning institutions.

In the field of sports, MCYS will provide sports and recreational infrastructure towards creating a healthy and active community, at the same time taking steps to achieving excellence in sports.

Meanwhile, in the area of community, the ministry will be taking initiatives in ensuring the welfare and well-being of the citizens and residents in the country and strengthening family institutions, towards creating unity and peace, he noted.

The minister added that MCYS needs to review and evaluate the progress of initiatives in the culture and arts field so that the efforts in preserving culture and heritage will be more focussed.

These efforts include among others opening up of district museums and improving the content of cultural roadshows held at schools and mukims, the minister pointed out.

As part of the effort in glorifying the Malay Language as the country’s official language, the Language Month programme will be enriched. At the same time, Book Festival Project and Reading Culture Empowerment Carnival will be updated so that the outcome will be more outstanding, he added.

During the deliberation, the minister also explained that the ministry will identify changes needed in the strategies used so that it would be more compatible with the current trends in the area of youth development to nurture today’s youth as future leaders.

In addition, MCYS is drawing up a new assistance programme in empowering the elderly and the disabled in the society. On this note, the minister said that MCYS, through the Social Issue National Council, is currently reviewing the Social Network System based on which the government gives assistance in the form of monthly welfare assistance, old age pension, disability pension and others.

This includes restructuring programmes and projects based on the needs and capabilities of different groups such as persons with disabilities, taking into account the resource position in addressing their issues.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin