Brunei Analytical Update: Legislative Council Approves 2019/2020 National Budget

Brunei Analytical Update | March 27, 2019
Author: Artha Sirait
 
ANALYTICAL UPDATE
 
 
On March 23, Brunei’s Legislative Council unanimously approved a national budget allocation of BND5.86 billion (approximately USD4.3 billion) for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. The new budget, which will take effect on April 1, is higher than both the 2018/2019 fiscal year budget which was BND5.3 billion (approximately USD4 billion) and the 2016/2017 fiscal year budget of BND5.6 billion (approximately USD4.2 billion); but lower than the 2015/2016 fiscal year budget of BND6.3 billion (approximately USD4.8 billion). The total revenue for 2019/2020 is projected at BND4.36 billion comprising of BND3.18 billion from the oil and gas sector and BND1.18 billion from non-oil and gas sector.

The 15th Legislative Council meeting which is Brunei’s annual parliamentary session was chaired by Speaker YB Dato Abdul Rahman and comprised of 36 members including Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, the 14 cabinet ministers and 20 appointed members which include state dignitaries, grassroot leaders and representatives from various professional, social and religious groups.

During a session of the 2-week Legislative Council, Minister of Finance and Economy II, YB Dato’ Dr. Hj Mohd Amin Liew stressed the urgent need for more investment into Brunei and that the Department of Economic Planning and Development shows Brunei’s GDP posted just 0.1 percent growth in 2018 due to a contraction in the oil and gas sector. Dato’ Amin also highlighted that Brunei needs to intensify its diversification efforts in the sectors of downstream oil and gas; food manufacturing; tourism; services and ICT. Brunei will also accelerate Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) initiatives to support Brunei’s diversification efforts, and reduce its dependence on oil and gas.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy received the largest budget allocation of BND814 million to help its efforts to continue strengthening the fiscal and economic position of the country and explore opportunities to expand the government’s revenue base from the non-oil and gas sectors. The Ministry of Finance and Economy has also set aside BND21 million towards establishing Brunei’s stock exchange, although the timeline has not been disclosed. The initial focus will be on listing equities, adding bonds and Islamic bonds at a later stage.

The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism also received an increase in budget allocation as the ministry continues their efforts to boost tourism in Brunei to bring in more revenues. The Ministry of Defense’s budget previously had come under growing strain due to broader economic challenges, but the approved budget sees an increase although the exact number was not disclosed. Meanwhile the Ministry of Development sees a decrease in its budget to approximately BND218 million from BND807 million last fiscal year.

The budgets are as follows, note that certain budgets were not disclosed:

Prime Minister’s Office
Prime Minister’s Office BND29,725,240.00
Department of Adat Istiadat Negara BND2,799,340.00
Audit Department BND5,775,210.00
Narcotics Control Bureau
Anti-Corruption Bureau
Internal Security Department
Department of Councils of State BND2,363,090.00
Radio Television Brunei BND41,339,550.00
Information Department BND6,300,110.00
Public Service Department BND26,577,570.00
Management Services Department BND2,323,070.00
Royal Brunei Police Force
Public Service Commission BND4,892,550.00
State Mufti’s Office BND7,110,950.00
Laws Division BND926,050.00
Government Printing Department BND8,905,360.00
Attorney General’s Chambers BND11,008,220.00
State Judiciary Department BND10,097,420.00
E-Government National Centre BND35,828,440.00
Brunei Research Department
 
Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Defense Department
Defense Minister Department and Directorate of Strategic Planning
 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs BND113,041,410.00
 
Ministry of Finance and Economy
Ministry of Finance and Economy Department BND19,570,770.00
Royal Customs and Excise Department BND14,867,800.00
Department of Economic Planning and Development BND6,993,850.00
Treasury Department BND21,734,400.00
Miscellaneous Services HMSF
Miscellaneous Services BND591,141,977.00
 
Ministry of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs Department BND9,734,810.00
Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board BND17,807,290.00
Kuala Belait and Seria Municipal Board BND7,014,480.00
Tutong Municipal Board BND2,241,30.00
Labour Department BND5,964,020.00
Brunei-Muara District Office BND12,442,430.00
Belait District Office BND4,139,010.00
Tutong District Office BND4,750,670.00
Temburong District Office BND4,018,080.00
Immigration and National Registration Department BND19,318,130.00
Prisons Department BND11,280,490.00
Fire and Rescue Department BND32,529,320.00
 
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Education BND574,685,530.00
Universiti Brunei Darussalam BND74,170,260.00
Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali BND14,593,110.00
Universiti Teknologi Brunei BND23,391,890.00
Institute of Brunei Technical Education BND48,511,180.00
 
Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism
Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Department BND6,894,764.00
Forestry Department BND7,071,206.00
Fisheries Department BND9,417,328.00
Agriculture and Agrifood Department BND34,194,352.00
Tourism Development Department BND2,363,660.00
 
Ministry of Religious Affairs
Ministry of Religious Affairs BND246,169,950.00
 
Ministry of Development
Ministry of Development Department BND10,525,590.00
Housing Development Department BND15,909,960.00
Public Works Department BND145,794,320.00
Town and Country Planning Department BND3,650,260.00
Land Department BND10,939,670.00
Survey Department BND13,115,050.00
Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation BND18,452,240.00
 
Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Department BND17,379,350.00
Language and Literature Bureau BND11,114,690.00
Youth and Sports Department BND18,494,950.00
Museums Department BND9,278,550.00
History Centre BND4,002,330.00
Community Development Department BND25,276,150.00
 
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health BND386,834,340.00
 
Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications
Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications Department BND7,787,520.00
Department of Civil Aviation BND23,960,200.00
Land Transport Department BND8,771,188.00
Postal Services Department BND9,630,280.00
Meteorological Department BND3,573,565.00
 
Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry
Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry Department BND18,994,350.00
Department of Electrical Services BND159,419,290.00
 
Development
Development BND800,000,000.00
 
Links to press commentary on the budget:
 
Defense: https://thescoop.co/2019/03/13/mindef-budget-to-focus-on-promoting-defence-diplomacy-improving-capabilities/

Education: https://borneobulletin.com.bn/moe-allocated-bnd735m-budget/
 
ICT & Transport: https://thescoop.co/2019/03/21/cyber-security-privatisation-initiatives-main-focus-for-mtic/ and https://borneobulletin.com.bn/over-bnd53m-budget-for-mtic/