More people seeking gov’t welfare benefits
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
GOVERNMENT agencies in charge of welfare benefits have seen a rise in the number of people asking for assistance in recent years, the minister of culture, youth and sports said yesterday.
During a dialogue session between the Ministry of Culture, Youths and Sports (MCYS) and Legislative Council members, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof said the issue of poverty is one of the critical issues that must be dealt with immediately.
He said that in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people requesting government welfare through bodies such as the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB).
According to the press release, JAPEM’s statistics showed that there were 6, 478 heads of families that received the Monthly Welfare Benefits (BKB) last year. This was an eight per cent increase compared from 6,019 in 2014.
Statistics published by JAPEM through data.gov.bn also showed that the number of welfare recipients in 2014 also revealed an increase of 15 per cent compared to 5,247 in 2013.
The ministry is aware that this development was brought forth by various factors such as unemployment, insufficient wages, a high number of dependents in the family and many others, he said.
YB Dato Pehin Hj Halbi added that this increase in the number of welfare recipients is a cause for concern and the situation must be improved.
The minister added that due to the increase, the National Council on Social Issues (MKIS), in an effort to reduce social problems in the country, has made the issue of poverty a top priority.
This is done, he said, by aiding welfare recipients in releasing themselves from the cycle of poverty.
YB Dato Pehin Hj Halbi went on to say that the ministry will also continue its efforts in further strengthening youth development in the country.
He said the ministry is aiming to review a number of national and ministerial policies under youths, sports, culture as well programmes that are currently running under the ministry.
“This is to ensure that these policies are still relevant and effective and at the same time, it is to take into consideration whether some policies need a change in trajectory,” said the minister.
He added that the ministry will also aim to improve the synergy between relevant authorities, whether from the government sector, the private sector or grassroots leader, adding that “engagement” and “public consultation” is the key to preserving the peace and harmony of the nation.
The dialogue session was headed by Yang Berhormat Hj Sulaiman Ahad and was held at the Conference Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
The Brunei Times