The government of Brunei Darussalam has been able to save tens of millions of dollars through the corporatisation of state-owned assets and organisations, revealed the Second Minister of Finance and Economy during the Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday. 

Muara Port Company

This was in response to a question posed by LegCo member Yang Berhormat Fdr Ar Siti Rozaimeriyanty Dato Seri Laila Jasa Hj Abd Rahman on the impact of the government’s initiatives in reducing its spending. 

“Usually every year, as much as $4 billion is allocated for government expenditures but it is not enough, often requiring additional allocation,” she said after querying on the economical outcomes of such initiatives which include corporatisation. 

In his response, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Amin Liew Abdullah said that the government has already begun to see the positive impacts from the recent corporatisation efforts such as the previously state-owned Muara Port which is now being operated by the Muara Port Company (MPC), a joint-venture between Darussalam Assets and Beibu Gulf Holding (Hong Kong). 

According to the minister, the MPC has saved the government at least $20 million a year, adding that other fiscal consolidation initiatives like the formation of the Unified National Networks (UNN) “already saves the government tens of millions every year”. 

“As an estimation (UNN) during the first year was able to save the government more than $30 million,” he continued. 

“Recently, we also saw the corporatisation of the government’s Printing Department, however for this project, it will probably take time for us to see the results, we will need to further improve the operating efficiency of the company,” he added. 

Addressing YB Rozaimeriyanty’s statement on the government requiring additional allocation for its expenditure YB Dato Dr Amin said that though this may be true, government spending has seen a decrease during the last two fiscal years. 

Recalling his speech during the morning session, the minister said that Government expenditure during 2019/2020 Financial Year decreased by 2.1 per cent to $5.87 billion compared to the 2018/2019 Financial Year. 

“If you look at this financial year, the year 2020/2021, it seems that the expenditure will also follow this trend,” he went on to say. 

“The matter of seeing the real impact, it does take time but we must continue with other activities instead of just relying on what we have already done. Currently, there are several projects that are being studied by the ministry together with other ministries as well,” he added. 

This article was first published on March 20, 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 133

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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