More than 148 million dollars was proposed for the Ministry of Home Affairs and its departments' budget for the Financial Year 2018/2019. While deliberating the proposal, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Home Affairs underlined the budget focus which are to strengthen security, well-being, catalysing the socio-economy and enhancing people solidarity to achieve the Progressive Brunei objective.
Yang Berhormat said the Ministry will focus the budget on a number of efforts, firstly; enhancing community solidarity in line with the Wawasan 2035 Key Performance Indicator, which is 2 point 1-1 under the institution development strategy, that it is vital to have a quality leader at the grassroots level who possess integrity. However, until 20th February, there are 65 penghulu and village chief posts still vacant and need to be filled.
Secondly, efforts will be made to enhance the government's focus to further increase the collection of tax revenues, current and arrears. Since the setting up of the recovery task force in April 2016, up to 31st December last year, the municipal boards have collected arrears amounting to 5 point 7-7 million dollars and at the same time reduced the total arrears from 46 million to 40 point 2-9 million dollars.
Thirdly, in line with the government's efforts that seriously prioritise the need for the nation to practice prudent spending especially in infrastructure development, the ministry, as of 2017, has identified its assets and issued request proposals for several assets in Bandar Seri Begawan, Kuala Belait dan Temburong through the public private partnership method which is hoped to alleviate the burden on the government while saving and benefiting both government and private sectors.
Fourthly, pertaining to the 1 village 1 product programme, a number of plans have been discussed with local and overseas stakeholder agencies to improve the quality of the 1K1P products to be sustainable and can penetrate the domestic and regional markets.
Yang Berhormat, added that on Ease of Doing Business, the ministry continues to work together with other agencies in making the country as a destination for foreign investors. This includes providing efficient and fast services.
The Minister of Home Affairs also said that the introduction of the Foreign Workers Licence on October 1st, 2016 until January 22nd this year, has been able to expedite the process of foreign workers recruitment and save time. However, 8 hundred and 45 job vacancies have been filled by locals, at the same time the Labour Department, without jeopardising the recruitment of locals in the private sector, has made several reviews with other agencies on the foreign workers recruitment process especially for posts that are still unable to be filled by locals.
Towards the ministry's efforts in supporting economic growth, the Labour Department with the cooperation of relevant agencies, the Prime Minister's Office and PENGGERAK is currently in the process of introducing the foreign director criteria aimed at coordinating the appointment of foreign directors who will contribute to the economy and employment for local job seekers.
Yang Berhormat added that in supporting the community to live in harmony and well-being, the ministry also plays a role in ensuring the well-being of former inmates is maintained especially in helping them gain employment and return to society.
And lastly, the Ministry of Home Affairs continues to enhance and strengthen national preparedness and sustainability through the Fire and Rescue Department and National Disaster Management Centre, NDMC.
Source: Radio Television Brunei