Development projects get $1.05 billion

, National 2 minutes, 8 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

$4.7 billion budget approved for all ministries for fiscal year 2008/2009

BRUNEI'S State Legislative Council yesterday passed the $1.05 billion budget for development projects, out of the approved total budget worth $4.7 billion for all ministries for the fiscal year 2008/2009.

The $1.05 billion budget for development purposes was an increase from the $900 million budget in the previous fiscal year.

Effective April 1, the budget for development projects will be spent on eight main sectors, including social services, trade and industry, transport and communications, public utilities, information communications technology (ICT), public buildings, security, as well as science and technology, and research and development.

The trade and industry sector received a boost with a budget allocation of $210 million, an increase of 182 per cent compared to the previous year, the Second Minister of Finance said.

"This includes allocation to carry out several projects under the Economic Development Board and to develop several economic clusters that have been recognised," said Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim.

He said that the social services sector will focus on the development of education, state-owned enterprises and human resources, with a budget of $287.7 million and occupying 27.4 per cent of the total budget.

Furthermore, the transport and communication industry has been allocated $126 million or 12 per cent of the overall budget, to improve roads, telecommunications and the civil aviation sector.

Some $123 million or 11.7 per cent of the budget will be spent on ensuring sufficient supply of clean water, water treatment plants, drainage system, improvement of the water drainage system and electricity supply.

To achieve a knowledge-based economy, the ICT industry will receive $97.4 million to develop ICT infrastructure and human resources and achieve full integration of ICT in government and business processes.

In addition, a total of $96.6 million has been earmarked to improve and raise the quality of government buildings, while the security sector received a budget of $81.4 million.

"The Science and Technology and Research and Development sector has been allocated $9.8 million or 0.9 per cent from the total budget with a planning cost of about $159 million for five years," the minister said.

"This is enough for areas in finance, development of halal products and spinoff from the oil and gas industry," he added.

He further said that $10 million has been allocated for capacity building and conduct research in various areas.

Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman said that the total budget allocation is intended to carry out some of the 1,062 projects worth about $9.5 billion in achieving the Vision 2035. This includes projects that are currently underway and new projects that have been approved.

The Brunei Times