$6.1 billion sought by Legislative Council for 2013-2014
Bandar Seri Begawan - The government expenditure for 2013-2014 carries the theme 'Visionary Youth, Catalyst for Sustainable Nation Building' which recognises the crucial role of youths in driving the country's development, especially as youths account for 47 per cent of Brunei Darussalam's population.
This was highlighted by the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman bin Hj Ibrahim in his deliberation to supply a sum of $6.1 billion out of the consolidated fund for the service of the financial year 2013/2014 and to appropriate such sum for certain purposes at the 9"' Legislative Council meeting yesterday.
The proposed budget for 2013-2014 including the allocation for development expenditure is $6.1 billion, which is up by $200 million compared to 2012-2013. The budget aims to help achieve the country's main aspiration to generate sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
The steps towards these goals include enhancing the achievement in education, plan to generate youth development, to provide and upgrade industrial infrastructure, to develop SMES and to support and facilitate business and investment ecosystem.
Priorities for the 2013-2014 budget are as follows: to enhance the capacity, especially youths, by encouraging training through enhancing educational facilities at schools and tertiary educational institutions, including technical and vocational institutions; to consolidate the private sector and enhance the public welfare, including efforts to eradicate poverty.
On enhancing the capacity, the government realises that to ensure continuous economic growth and a dynamic economy, the main factor is a comprehensive and strengthened human capital. In this respect, the Government of His Majesty has always given priority to training and education. And in line with MIB (Melayu Islam Beraja), education is not only focussed on the present but also the hereafter.
As a pillar for the country's development the government is aware of the need to invest in a proper and integrated manner to create a pious society that is dynamic, productive and skillful as well as possess quality and is visionary.
Allocations have been made for the provision of several schemes under the Human Resource Fund Programme including to develop the capability of human resource in the private sector. The scheme is to provide opportunities to locals in the private sector to enhance their skills and expertise through courses and training for them to be marketable and able to compete in the challenging job market.
The government will also provide $2 million to government agencies that handle courses and training to purchase equipment to enhance training and skills. A sum of $20.5 million is provided to buy educational equipment at schools and higher institutions under the Ministry of Education.
The allocation to buy educational equipment at schools and tertiary institutions under the Ministry of Religious Affairs has also been increased to $4.82 million.
To finance scholarships and allowances under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the allocation has been increased by $2.1 million to make it a total of $6.3 million, while an allocation of $1.46 million has been set aside for allowances at Institute Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, while the allowance for for Arabic secondary schools has been increased to $2 million, up by $1 million.
Under the Ministry of Education, the students allowance has risen by $4.8 million, making it $20.7 million while the scholarship allocation amounts to $35 million.
An allocation of $2 million which is an increase of $500,000 has been set aside to handle PKBN or National Service Scheme which has received an encouraging response. A new allocation of $1 million has been provided to support independent youth programmes handled by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
A sum of $5.6 million has been allocated to support efforts by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources to help youths engage in business such as SMEs.
To nurture the reading culture, $400,000 has been allocated to the Language and Literature Bureau to buy books for libraries nationwide. To increase the number of staff at libraries, $100,000 has been allocated under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Under the 10th National Development for financial year 2013-2014, $10.21 million will be allocated under a programme costing $84 million to build religious schools and Arabic preparatory schools, secondary schools and Sixth Form Centres.
A sum of $5.6 million under a programme costing $25 million has been allocated to rebuild schools in Kg Ayer (phase 1) and $4.59 million under a programme costing of $35.21 million has been allocated to upgrade facilities at colleges, vocational and technical institutions.
One of the crucial factors in strengthening human capital is spiritual education. A Mandatory Religious Education Order 2012 was enforced on January 1, 2013 and 5,036 new students have registered to study at religious schools this year.
For short-term courses and training, $24 million will be provided to finance skills enhancement and capacity and to fund long-term courses, $20.5 million will be provided under the Public Service Department to finance in-service training.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin