Brunei Development Budget 2017/2018 - $1 billion


$1 billion for 10th NDP
on: March 19, 2017

| Hakim Hayat |

THE slower pace of economic growth due to global oil price woes and a tight overall budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal did not deter the government to do a pump-priming to catalise the economy.

A budget totalling $1 billion has been proposed to fund projects and programmes under the 10th National Development Plan (NDP) during the new financial year, a 30 per cent increase compared to the $700 million allocated for the 2016-17 NDP.

This was announced by YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Minister of Finance II, on the 10th day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

During the budget deliberation, he said that the new financial year’s proposed budget for the 10th NDP has been devised to sustain the focus and priorities of the budget theme for 2017-2018 which emphasises objective spending to support sustainable economic growth.

The distribution of the budget will focus on the commitment for completed projects with liability and ongoing projects, while projects that are in the process of bidding/design/planning will be given priority only if they are in line with the new financial year budget’s focus, the minister said.He added that 24.8 per cent of the allocation will be for completed projects with liabilities while 73.4 per cent will go to projects that are in progress and 1.7 per cent will be for projects that are still in bidding/design/planning stages.

The allocation will also take into account the focus on a number of main sectors, with the transportation and communications sector getting the largest share of 37.8 per cent. Industry and trade sector will receive 19 per cent.

The social services sector will be allocated 9.8 per cent of the budget while the public consumption sector will have a 6.4 per cent share.

The science, information technology, research, development and innovation sector will be allocated 1.1 per cent of the budget while one per cent will be earmarked for the security sector.

The public building sector will receive a budget share of 0.3 per cent.

Earlier in the speech, the minister said the NDP is envisioned to support the country’s economic diversification policies and boost the source of national revenue.

“It does not just pave the way for growth of the private sector, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and support the ease of doing business initiatives in the country, but what’s more visible today is a change in mindset among the people, which is evident from the emergence of new entrepreneurs among the youth who are contributing to the country’s economic activities,” he added.

The minister also informed the session that out of the 567 projects under the 10th NDP, 416, or 73.5 per cent, have been completed while 13.2 per cent are still in various stages of implementation.

Some 41 projects are still in bidding process while 35 projects are in design and planning stages.

He revealed that until the end of February 2017, the actual expenditure under the 10th NDP during the last financial year stands at 90.3 per cent of the original allocation of $700 million.

This brings the total expenditure so far for the 10th NDP to over $5 billion to date.

The minister also highlighted some of the efforts made by the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) to ensure the projects are being completed according to schedule, adding that close monitoring of their progress will continue.

JPKE will also continuously assess the suitability of planned projects so that they will be sustainable and effective in realising the socio-economic growth of the country and ensuring that all purchases are made according to the allocated budget.

The 13th LegCo session was adjourned to tomorrow morning, where the members are expected to deliberate on the 10th NDP budget before it is approved.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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