BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Prime Minister’s Office has tabled a budget of $425.7 million for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, a 25 per cent decrease from the previous financial year.

Speaking on the third day of the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting on Tuesday, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Abdul Mokti Hj Mohd Daud attributed the $142.7 million decrease to the transfer of portfolios.

The Department of Electrical Services’ Energy and Industry Unit is now under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI) while the Ministry of Finance and Economy now manages the Department of Economic Planning and Development.

Staff salary and recurring expenditure make up the bulk of the proposed budget at $394.8 million. The Prime Minister’s Office was also allocated $30.1 million in development funds.

YB Dato Hj Awg Abd Mokti said as part of the budget’s priorities, the government is focused on enhancing efforts to streamline investment activities, facilitate business, produce human resources who are competent and marketable as well as maintain public welfare.

Outlining four core thrusts, the minister said the first thrust is to increase productivity in the organisation and on an individual level as a measure of key performance indicators.

Efforts to fill vacancies at all levels are ongoing in collaboration with other ministries and government departments, he added.

Leadership and capacity development programmes such as executive development programmes for senior government officials and middle-level officials and young executive programmes are regularly organised to build leadership skills.

“These programmes are created and designed for the civil service and will definitely be assessed for its effectiveness from time to time.

“In addition to expanding the talent pool, it is also aimed at equipping civil service officers with the competencies to hold top-level positions,” he added.

The second key area is to ensure policies and regulations are examined and improved, especially in facilitating private sector participation.

The minister said the country will continue efforts to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s Report of Ease of Doing Business by improving the indicators on enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Corporatisation and private-public partnership will also be explored to make the public service more cost-effective, in addition to identifying services that can be integrated and consolidated.

The third core thrust involves strengthening confidence in the government by disseminating information on the government’s initiatives and activities, including leadership engagement in the international arena.

“The information is conveyed through various channels via mainstream media, social media or dialogues with grassroots leaders, so that all levels of society can gain a sense of understanding and appreciation for every government action,” said the minister.

Fourth, the Prime Minister’s Office will continue to strengthen the infrastructure of enforcement agencies and enhance security assets to maintain the country’s peace and prosperity through an integrated approach of government, private sector and the community.

“All stakeholders will continue to formulate strategies to maintain political stability, defend the country’s sovereignty, connect the country’s defense and diplomatic capabilities as well as preparedness in addressing security threats,” he added.