Local SMEs to benefit from MinDef projects
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
LOCAL companies will benefit from future projects undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) through public-private partnership (PPP), the Deputy Minister of Defence said at the State Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting yesterday.
Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar said that MinDef should ensure that the economic and social sectors benefit from the implementation of capacity building projects.
"One of the ways is to stress on the spinoff impact, which ensures a return to the country, through acquisition activities," he said.
The deputy minister was responding to LegCo member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas' question on what component will be emphasised in the Defence White Paper 2011, to spur economic growth.
Pehin Dato Hj Mohammad Yasmin cited the recent acquisition of a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) system signed in January, which should involve a number of incubatees at the iCentre.
He explained that not only will MinDef be able to significantly enhance its defence capabilities, but the nation will also benefit from the economic spin-offs and technology transfer through the engagement of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the implementation of the project.
Pehin Dato Hj Md Yasmin added that outsourcing some of Royal Brunei Air Force's "non-primary" duties also provided opportunities for local companies to increase economic activities in the Sultanate.
"Apart from that, other PPP projects will also be implemented, as part of RBAF's initiative to engage with the private sector," he said.
During the morning session of the Legco meeting yesterday, the deputy minister announced MinDef's budget for the fiscal year 2010/2011, which totalled nearly $512 million.
"This amount is an increase of 0.7 per cent to the budget allocated and approved last year, which was under one per cent," he said.
He added that there was an increase of about three per cent or $8.4 million for salary payments compared to last year.
Pehin Dato Hj Md Yasmin explained that the increase was incurred by annual increment and recruitment of personnel to fill vacant positions.
A total of $6.2 million has been allocated for recurring annual expenditure, under the miscellaneous expenditure category, he said, adding that the amount showed a decline of 3.6 per cent from last year's budget.
"This decline was to answer the government's call to spend the government's money wisely without affecting the quality of service. Among big contributors to the decline were the implementation of courses that were only participated abroad previously, but are now done locally," the deputy minister said.
There was also an increase of two per cent or $1.3 million in payment for special expenditure under the miscellaneous expenditure, to fund capacity building projects such as the implementation of research, C41SR and replacement of small assets.
The Brunei Times