Economic Growth

This table is what my JPKE (Economic Planning and Development Department) colleagues love to highlight to me. During the last Leg Co, only one member if I am not mistaken raised this issue - the government's under capacity to spend despite the ability to have money. This problem I can assure you is what other countries love to have but a problem we don't need.

Every year, all agencies are given a sum of money to spend under the RKN which amounts to some $1 billion a year. Out of that amount, sometimes only as much as 30% are spent. Some people might think 'oh that's good, the amount unspent gets saved'... Well, technically yes. If you don't spend it, then the government gets to keep the money and use it another year or invest it. But economically, it's not so good. Any $1 the government spends is $1 that gets into circulation. And that $1 can go a long way depending on many factors. Imagine $1 that gets paid to contractors who in turn pay their workers who then buy stuffs from the shops who then purchase more goods from suppliers who in turn then .... You get the picture. Economic growth is partly derived from the government's expenditure.

Why the undercapacity to spend? Many factors. A number of them unfortunately is in the ministry that I am in. Practically all the projects require engineers, architects etc. The ministry also does its own projects and at the same time help others, there is a constraint of resources. At the same time, there are other factors. Projects are delayed because lands need to be acquired including land which is on TOL. The government technically does not have to compensate for TOL but invariably it does because we are kind. So even TOL which only has fruit trees also have to be compensated. Land need to be surveyed and gazetted etc. Our local consultants lobbied for more consultants to be appointed to run the projects. Yes, but consultants also need to be supervised and monitored. Whatever it is, lack of manpower is certainly a factor. My ministry alone has about 300 vacancies, about 40 of them at Division II (graduates) and Division III (HNDs). Our Admin Division is working on a work expo next month where we will try to fill in all these jobs. Hopefully we can get the projects completed target much faster than the previous RKN.

Comments

Mohammad said…
Now, BRo, this is what I call pure Transparency and Corporate Governance at its best, man.

"You rock, Dude (or is it Dawg?)" to copycat Randy of American Idol judge fame... heheheh;)

Some very fascinating statistics there, Mr P.S. What really caught my attention is along Social Services wherein the Approved Allocation was BND1,71M and Actual Expenditure a mere BND380M i.e. 19.3 percent spent. Are we missing something here, boss? please don't tell me not enough manpower to service the needs of the Bruneian society at large. Latest Labour statistics on Unemployment in our beloved country stand at 7,000 jobless. So why not capitalise on this grossly underestimated figure (believe you me, there are few hundreds more unaccounted for since many more of our jobless do not bother or could not care less to register with the Labour Dept.)

Let me cite just on-the-surface and randomly surveyed examples:
1. A 55-year old Bruneian who has not had a permanent job for the last 10, 15, 20 years or so. His wife and kids now are back in her homeplace in a neighbouring state.

2. A 50-year old Bruneian who comes out of his Father-in-law's house after Dawn prayers to walk to town trying his luck with some sort 'consultancy' thingy and goes back home after "Isyak" (Night) prayers empty-handed almost daily.

3. A 48-year old Bruneian who just got laid off for some months now with unemployed kids to care for!

4. A 43-year old Bruneian man who has to feed his family of six but could not make ends meet since his freelancing self-employment (sounds more dignified than UNemployment!) status is worse than "kais pagi, makan pagi (mun nada langsung kan dikais-kais!)".

5. A 40-year old Bruneian who cons people here and there just to survive for his family's (more than just a family, really) needs.

And these are only soft-core cases. What about more hard-core unemployed and extreme poverty real life scenarios all over our peaceful nation which have been left unchecked for ages!

'Zero Poverty' sum game may be a real tall order for the Community Development Department of the Ministry of culture, Youth and Sports to solve, let alone to handle such mammoth tasks ahead.

But, hang on! Whatever happened to the "ZAKAT Wajib" that is in the "Baitul Mal" coffers? Or are filthy rich and wealthy Bruneian Muslims too money-loving to contribute 2.5 percent of their annual net or is it gross income to the Religious Affairs Ministry?

A Malaysian friend cited the classic example of the PAS-ruled State Government as the only real Islamic Way of Life 'Transparent Corporate Governance and Social Responsible' to hand out totally all their "Kutipan Zakat" or Tithe Collection (which works out to be about RM500 million per year) to the Needy, Poor, Unemployed, Jobless, Single Mothers, troubled Travellers or "Musafirs", Muslims who are heavily in debt, etc. etc.

Since ICT Budget was only 8.6 percent used up, perhaps the rest of the 91.4 percent Allocated Expenditure should be transferred to the Social Services allocation! Then, and only then can we even think of 'ZERO POVERTY' target?!
Mohammad said…
I just realised I mix up figures for Approved Allocation (Social services) which should be BND1,971 and not BND1,71M. Not far behind is ICT, allocated BND1,119M.

300 job vacancies in your ministry? Ever thought of outsourcing those positions to resourceful local Manpower firms who could be contracted to recruit 'civil servants' on short-term basis, say, 5 year contracts? That way, even retirees could be offered work until age 60...
FR said…
this is an amazing piece of information!!!

We need to get the government spending the money available in the best way possible!!

And you have lots of vacancies? Why do you think these vacancies aren't taken up by the jobless people?
Mohammad said…
REALITY CHECK! Check this out:

"Over 2,000 Vie For 38 Job Openings By Haji Minor Absah

Tutong - Residents in Tutong District yesterday flocked to the multipurpose hall of Kampong Serambangun in hopes of securing employment with Loon Brunei Limited in the Tutong 3D Seismic Exploration Project.

Over 2,000 people showed up for the job interview, though only 38 job vacancies were up for grabs.

According to Loon Brunei Limited Country Manager Robert WK, the response from job seekers was very encouraging.

Due to yesterday's turnout, another interview session will be held today at the same venue.

The project, which will begin at Block L, Tutong District, covers an area of 350 square kilometres.

It is undertaken by Loon Brunei Limited, QAF Brunei Sdn Bhd and Nations Petroleum in stages. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin"

Looking at the Borneo Bull photo, the applicants seemed wide-ranging from fresh school leavers to retirees. So what gives, Labour D?

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