MinComm proposes budget of $68.5 million
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Communications has proposed a budget of more than $68.5 million for fiscal year 2016/2017, a decrease of nine per cent from last year’s $75.32 million.
This was revealed by Minister of Communications Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat during yesterday’s afternoon meeting of the 12th Session of the Legislative Council (LegCo).
Bulk of the budget will be spent on staff salaries totalling $42.6 million, while $17.4 million will go towards recurring expenses.
The remaining $8.5 million will be allocated towards the ministry’s special expenditures which will focus on the renovation of infrastructures of the Marine Department, Ports Department and the Department of Civil Aviation.
A number of the ministry’s initiatives this year will be directed towards driving private investments in the communications and transport sectors as well as improve operations.
The minister said that the aims of the ministry for the new fiscal year is to bolster participation by the private sector.
There is also an emphasis on prudent spending through performance budgeting which will reflect the priority of a department’s budget through its potential output or productivity.
He added that the ministry’s annual revenue has been increasing with a total of $98.5 million in the previous fiscal year compared to the $75.1 million in fiscal year 2013/2014.
However, YB Dato Hj Mustappa said the ministry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP is only three per cent, translating to more than $600 million annually.
The ministry intends to give renewed efforts in a number of areas as a continuation of the ministry’s 2008-2017 strategic plan.
“Client charter and the Tekad Pemdulian Orang Ramai (TPOR) will be more transparent and accountable with the aim of increasing the integrity and to improve the government revenue as well as decreasing liabilities,” he said.
YB Dato Hj Mustappa also said that the ministry is currently assessing the feasibility of establishing a Land Transport Authority which is a body that will oversee and expand the land transport sector, specifically public buses and taxis.
“The ministry is also putting efforts in improving taxi services in the country through the introduction of metered taxis, online booking systems and a fare system that is controlled and competitive,” said the communications minister.
During the meeting yesterday, the minister proceeded to call for telecommunications companies to continue to be proactive in building telecommunication infrastructures in the sultanate.
He said he hoped these infrastructures would penetrate areas outside of the capital, rural areas and national housing schemes.
Among other areas of interest that the ministry is looking into this year include the outsourcing of vehicle inspection services and the corporatisation of the management of the Muara Port.
The Brunei Times