Thursday, September 15, 2016

Brunei National Land Use Council


Brunei establishes National Land Use Council
Borneo Bulletin, September 15, 2016
James Kon

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has recently consented to the establishment of the National Land Use Council, which will be chaired by the Minister of Development and the members will include relevant ministers and permanent secretaries.

The announcement was made yesterday by Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Bahrin bin Abdullah, the Minister of Development, in a statement which was read out by Dato Paduka Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny, the Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the Ministry of Development, during a dinner held in conjunction with the annual general meeting of the Institution of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA).

One area that the council will be looking at, the minister said, “is plot ratio, to address at least two main inter-linked aims. First, limited availability of land suitable for development means it is important that we allow high-density development in appropriate zones to accommodate our present and future needs.

“Secondly, one of our national key performance indicators (KPI) going towards 2035 has increased in gross fixed capital formation. We need more investments. Again, with limited land, the only way this will be possible is by allowing higher density development, which may also make better commercial and financial sense for investors.”

Outlining some of the recent initiatives to attract more investment, the minister also touched on the topic of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in dealing with construction permits.

He said, “In the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’, we ranked 21 out of 189 economies in dealing with construction permits. The rank was based on the fact that we had 14 procedures and took 119 days to issue various approvals.”

The Authority for Building Control and Construction Industry (ABCi), he said, “has worked hard to improve the process further, and we informed World Bank officials who visited us in May, that we now had five procedures and took 37 days. Continuous monitoring has shown that since March this year, we have managed on weekly average, to meet our target dates for issuing approvals.”

The improvement, he said, “was possible, because ABCi worked together with some members of PUJA.”

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