Brunei Minister Primary Resources & Tourism: Budget $51.54 million

MPRT sees major leap
on: March 12, 2017

| Rokiah Mahmud |

THE Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) has been allocated a budget of $51.54 million for the 2017-2018 financial year.

This was announced by YB Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, during his budget deliberation on the fifth day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

He said that his ministry is trying to intensify the diversification of the country’s primary resources to boost their contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP) as well as efforts in creating new employment opportunities as part of the ministry’s Strategic Plan 2016–2020.

Highlighting the plan, the minister said that the MPRT’s vision is ‘Towards Rapid Growth in the output of Primary Resources and Tourism – to contribute towards economic growth in order to realise the Brunei Vision 2035’.

Despite the lower oil price that has impacted global economy including Brunei Darussalam, he assured that the ministry will continue efforts in line with its vision.

By promoting domestic and foreign investment, increasing productivity through the use of modern technology and focusing on the export market, it is hoped that the five-year plan can meet the key performance indicators (KPIs) set by the ministry, the minister added.

The strategic plan envisages more than tripling the value of output from the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector to B$1.80 billion by 2020 from B$510 million in 2015.

This means that the sector’s contribution to GDP will increase from less than $200 million in 2015 to around one billion by 2020 which will see a four to five per cent growth in GDP compared to one per cent in 2015.

The minister added that with diversification of the country’s economy, the primary resources and tourism sectors are expected to generate up to 4,000 new employment opportunities.

According to the minister, to further enhance economic growth, the MPRT will intensify efforts by encouraging local and foreign investors to participate in development projects through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), reducing dependency on government’s financial resources.

In line with this, the ministry has offered comprehensive or semi-comprehensive agricultural development areas called Agriculture Development Area (KKP) for interested farmers. These areas include Tungku Agriculture Development Area (KKP Tungku), KKP Kilanas, KKP Batang Mitus and KKP Birau.

In the aquaculture sector, the ministry has offered several fish farming sites at Kampong Sungai Paku, Kampong Keramut and Sungai Penyatang in Tutong District; and Pengkalan Sibabau, Kampong Serasa and Kampong Meragang in Brunei-Muara District. They will focus on hatchery and nursery activities for fish and prawn farming.

While Tanjong Pelumpong in the Kuala Sungai Brunei and Pilong-Pilongan island are focussed on various types of caged fish, Sungai Jambu in Kampong Katok is for ornamental fish farming and vertical fish farming.

As of now, some 23 agriculture, fishery and tourism projects have been tendered through Request for Proposals (RFPs) and interested investors or entrepreneurs can still submit their business plans.

On this note, the minister said a number of projects have already been offered to successful applicants and they are expected to begin exporting their products by this year. However, some of the projects are still in evaluation stage while some are still being tendered.

He added that qualified and selected foreign investors will be mandated to invest in identified areas after attaining support from the foreign direct investment (FDI) Committee.

The minister said several FDI and joint-venture projects have been developed in further boosting the country’s economy. Among them, Hiseaton Fisheries (B) Sdn Bhd has acquired a 2,000-hectare site in Pilong-Pilongan island for caged farming of pompano fish and already commenced operations. The company is expected to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of pompano worth B$105 million annually by 2020.

The KR Apollo Sdn Bhd has been offered a 12-hectare site in Sungai Jambu in Kampong Katok to farm ornamental fish and food-fish. With the use of vertical farming technology, the company is expected to export produce worth $35 million by 2020.

Syarikat Nur Nabai Sdn Bhd has been tendered for growing grouper fish in Tanjong Pelumpong and it is expected to produce 5,000 metric tonnes of fish worth $35 million annually by year 2020.

Golden Corporation has acquired a 200-hectare site in Sungai Penyatang, Tutong to farm organic blue shrimp and it expects to produce up to 4,500 metric tonnes of fish worth B$48 million by 2020.

Yamako Pacific (B) Sdn Bhd has been permitted to operate a processing plant for tuna fish which will be exported to Japan. The project involves six fishing fleets in the Zone 4 site. The company has targeted about 10,000 metric tonnes of tuna and about 3,6000 metric tonnes of processed tuna fish which is expected to rake in B$100 million annually by 2020.

The minister said the MPRT needs cooperation from all relevant stakeholders, particularly farmers and entrepreneurs from the tourism industries, in increasing production to meet the export targets.

He advised farmers to facilitate their farming with the use of modern technology so that they would be able to boost productivity, depending less on government subsidies.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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