By Izzan Kassem
Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar proposed a budget of $82.19 million for the financial year 2015/2016 so that the MIPR can implement various programmes through these four clusters: food security, economic diversification, socio-economy and micro-SME development.
The proposed budget is nearly nine per cent lower than last year’s approved budget of $90.31 million.
“The focus of the budget for the 2015/2016 financial year will revolve around continuing efforts in improving production capability and productivity in these (agriculture, agrifood and fisheries) sectors,” YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said.
He added the MIPR will implement programmes that will upgrade infrastructure, raise productivity and optimise developed land.
The minister said the halal and the natural resources sectors will most likely attract foreign investments and help diversify the economy.
He cited the the 500-hectare Bio-Innovation Corridor in Kg Tungku which can serve as a centre for investments and joint-ventures in the halal industry.
Using the budget under the first phase of the National Development Plan, YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said that a 50-hectare area has been prepared. The area is ready for investments and has basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water supply. He said several multinational companies are interested to operate in this area.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said developing the forestry sector can help the Sultanate diversify its economy.
“The government’s policy is to ensure the sustainable management of forest resources,” he said. He added the government is discouraging logging and collecting of wood in forest reserves.
He added the manufacturing and services sectors support the local economy. As such, the MIPR will continue to provide facilities to grow these sectors.
He said industrial sites and complexes were constructed to expand the manufacturing and services sectors, attract foreign and local investments and create business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
In the tourism sector, the minister said, “the country’s strength is in Islamic, cultural and heritage tourism”.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said MIPR will promote tourism by funding infrastructure development, management of estate sites, research and development and construction of tourism facilities.
The minister said they’re drafting a law that will create a special body to promote micro-SMEs. The Companies Act is also being amended to include more provisions to protect the rights of cooperatives and their members and to ensure the proper management of cooperatives.
The Brunei Times