BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei will set up internal audit units at government ministries and departments to “strengthen checks and balances”, the minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) told the Legislative Council on Saturday.

In his budget readout on Saturday, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said PMO will issue a new circular on the establishment of internal audit units at government ministries and departments.

The internal audit units, one of PMO’s initiatives to strengthen accountability and governance, will improve monitoring mechanisms and systems, as well as internal controls in each ministry and department, he added.

In addition, a “feedback mechanism” known as E-Consumer Care will be introduced, allowing the public to lodge complaints and subsequently improve the delivery of government services.

“In the 2020/2021 fiscal year, 94.7 percent of public complaints were resolved,” he added.

PMO is expected to cut its budget by 10.8 percent to $384.95 million in the 2022/23 fiscal year (FY).

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin said staff salaries and recurring expenses will make up the vast majority (93.9%) of PMO’s budget.

The remaining $23.6 million will be set aside for development projects.

The budgets of five departments under PMO — Narcotics Control Bureau, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Internal Security Department, Royal Brunei Police Force and Brunei Research Department – were not disclosed due to the “sensitive” nature of their operations.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin said PMO’s FY 2022/23 budget will focus on five strategic goals — viable governance, national security and stability, government readiness, nation and community-focused success as well as excellent and robust organisation.

PMO is also working to solve “common issues” in filling vacant job posts in the government, he said, adding that there were 2,380 vacancies in the civil service.

He said a working committee is also being formed to review and monitor the implementation of Wawasan 2035.

Another initiative is the introduction of a new human resource management system, which is jointly run by the E-Government National Centre, Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications and Ministry of Finance’s Treasury Department.

The minister said several projects are underway to strengthen the capacity of the Royal Brunei Police Force, including the establishment of the Royal Brunei Police Force Academy, construction of Temburong Police Station and building of a “camp” for better border control.