No definite timeline has been set for the corporatisation of the Postal Services Department, however, it remains a priority, the Minister of Communications said at the Legislative Council meeting on Monday.

According to YB Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohammad Yusof, the corporatisation of the department is still being researched, and will be implemented in collaboration with relevant parties or experts in excise and corporatisation.

This move is responding to the challenges and opportunities that exist in today’s digital economy, he said, adding that implementation depends on the preparedness of the ministry’s internal resources. The minister said they will only engage a consultant if necessary.

Minister of Communications YB Abdul Mutalib at the Legislative Council on March 19, 2018. Photo: Infofoto

The Ministry of Communications’ move to privatise state-owned enterprises, such as postal services and ports operations, has been discussed at previous LegCo sittings.

Last year, the operation of the Muara Container Terminal was taken over by the Muara Port Company, a joint venture between government-linked company Darussalam Assets and China’s Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group.

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The government agencies previously responsible for ports operations — Marine Department and Ports Department — were merged to become a regulatory body called the Brunei Darussalam Maritime and Ports Authority (PBMP).

Since Muara Port Company took over operations of the container terminal, it now hires 163 employees, a workforce that is 87 per cent local.

“[The privatisation] has also brought a positive impact on the quality of service at PBMP, leading to a 37 per cent improvement in productivity in 2017, compared to 2016,” YB Abdul Mutalib said. He added that they have also reduced turnaround time by 48 per cent in the past year — down from 60 minutes to 30 minutes.

Corporatisation of the container terminal has also allowed the government to save $8.6 million in maintenance and operations costs.