BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) on Wednesday tabled a budget of $814 million for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, which includes $21 million towards establishing Brunei’s stock exchange.

Second MoFE minister, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, said the allocation for the stock exchange is part of an overall package worth $414 million, which will be disbursed over the next few years to fund infrastructure, technology and socio-economic studies related to its implementation.

The timeline for the launch of the exchange was not disclosed, but Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD), the country’s central bank, previously said initial focus would be on listing equities, adding bonds and sukuk (Islamic bonds) at a later stage.

Speaking at a meeting of the Legislative Council on Wednesday, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin outlined the annual expenditure for MoFE, which is up $67 million from last year, after the ministry absorbed two new departments from other government ministries — the Department of Trade and the Department of Economic Planning and Development.

The latter has been allocated $6.9 million for FY 2019/20, while the Department of Customs and Excise has been allocated $14.8 million, and the Department of Treasury given $21.7 million. The Department of Finance and Economy has been budgeted $19.5 million while $591 million in funds has been listed under “miscellaneous services”.

The minister said MoFE will implement a fiscal consolidation plan to promote more efficient government spending and explore opportunities to increase revenue beyond the oil and gas sector.

Research will be conducted into privatisation of government agencies and implementing projects through joint ventures or public private partnerships.