Nod for budgets of three Ministries

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Defence Ministry allocation cut slightly due to better management

DEPUTY MINISTER of Defence Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar yesterday announced a slight cut in the defence 2008/2009 fiscal year budget allocation.

Attributing the reduction of this year's defence budget allocation to a more systematic management of defence programmes, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yasmin said the proposed allocations were "realistic" and "within the ministry's capacity to spend during the fiscal year".

The State Legislative Council yesterday passed the Ministry of Defence's annual budget allocation of $508,861,923, a 2.13 per cent decrease from the previous fiscal year. It also approved the budgets of two other ministries (see graphic).

Addressing the council on the breakdown of this year's defence budget allocation, the minister said, "the distribution of programme costs over a period of two to four years has also helped in stabilising annual expenditure, so it can be better predicted".

This fiscal year's defence budget is categorised into three parts — staff salaries, which has increased by five per cent from the previous budget; annual recurrent expenditure, which decreased by two per cent; and special expenditure, which saw a 27.12 per cent decrease.

The increase in staff salaries, said the minister, also takes into account the actual expenditure for the past three years and the annual salary increments for this fiscal year. The two per cent decrease in annual recurrent expenditures is an up-to-date allocation to more closely match the actual expenditure, based on experience during previous years, he added.

"The average decrease in 2.13 per cent (of the annual budget) shows the effectiveness of conservative measures and alternative financing that have been carried out without affecting the military's operational capabilities," he said.

"In fact, the proposed budget will pay for a few main projects for the Royal Brunei Armed Forces valued at $1.5 million to $36 million."

The Brunei Times