$523.56m for projects expected to help lure investors to Brunei

National 2 minutes, 13 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

INFRASTRUCTURE projects that are seen to help improve the ease of doing business in the country are receiving a total allocation of $523.56 million under the proposed government budget for fiscal year 2016/2017.

Second Minister of Finance Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim yesterday presented the proposed budget allocation at the Legislative Council meeting yesterday.

In his speech, he said a number of the budget items are intended to provide a secure and efficient integrated transport service network in the country.

This, said the minister, also includes projects that are hoped to spark economic activity and boost tourism by making it convenient to invest in Brunei.

For the next fiscal year, projects relating to the construction of roads and the bridge that connects Sungai Kebun to Jalan Residency will get an allocation of $89 million.

Under the proposed budget, $38.6 million is allocated for the building of the Pulau Muara Besar Bridge and $300 million for the construction of the Temburong Bridge.

The government will spend $10 million on efforts to provide a more efficient, reliable and “sustainable” public transport system.

The preservation and improvement of “industrial site infrastructures”, which also falls under the Ease of Doing Business focus area, will have an allocation of $1 million under the proposed development budget. This is a decrease from the $2.5 million that this budget item received in the previous government budget proposal.

Tourism and “national trade developments” will have an increase allocation of $1.06 million. In last year’s budget proposal, tourism got only $300,000.

Meanwhile, efforts to support the development of micro, small and medium entreprises (MSMEs) will get an allocation of $1.6million, up by $100,000 from last year’s proposed allocation.

The Small Medium Enterprises fund will get a $74 million boost. This is slight decrease of $200,000 from last year’s proposal.

The proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in April, has an allocation of $8.3 million to finance facilities and amenities including the financial programmes for SMEs. This is a decrease from last year’s proposed $9 million.

Meanwhile, the minister said information, communication and technology as well as research and development (R&D) needs are given emphasis in the proposed budget, with increases in allocation in some.

R&D and innovation needs will get $22.5 million for the next fiscal year, up from the $16 million proposed last year.

The government will allocate $792,800 for the diagnostics laboratory and the fisheries biotechnology research centre.

Information technology for all ministries will get a proposed $75.1 million allocation; down from last year’s proposed $95.6 million.

Information technology and info-communication needs also get a decrease to $17.7 million from last year’s proposed $43.6 million.

The Brunei Times