Brunei finance ministry unveils a proposed budget of RM22bil for the financial year of 2024-2025

Brunei Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah speaking on the proposed budget 20th session of the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): The proposed Brunei budget for the 2024-2025 financial year, themed ‘Building a Prosperous Future Together’, is BND6.25 billion (RM22 billion), an increase from previous year’s BND5.96 billion.

This was annoounced by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah during the 20th session of the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting in the capital.

The minister said wages for government employees will be changed to emolument following the introduction of Chart of Account. The category will encompass salary allocations, allowances and contributions for permanent officers and staff including daily wages positions. All allowance under the recurring expenses category will also be under emolument.

From the BND6.25 billion budget, BND2.29 billion is emolument, BND2.40 billion for recurring expenditure, BND500 million for projects under 12th National Development Plan (RKN 12) and BND1.06 billion for acknowledged expenditure.

Dr Awang forecasted 2024/2025 revenue to be BND3.26 billion where BND2.47 billion (75 per cent) is from the oil and gas (O&G) sector and BND793.52 million (25 per cent) from non-O&G sector.

The breakdown of non-O&G revenue is BND228.17 million from taxes, BND103.7 million from import duty and excise collection, BND230.67 million from fees and charges, BND98.7 million from rental and commercial income from sales of goods and services, BND61.73 million from return on investment and deposits as well as BND40.49 million form statutory bodies.

There is an expected budget deficit of BND2.99 billion, which will be updated periodically based on the Sultanate’s O&G production levels, global oil prices, US dollar exchange rate, revenue from non-O&G sector and actual government expenditures, the minister said.

The minister also said government revenue for 2022-2023 financial year increased 33.1 per cent to BND6.35 billion compared to previous year’s BND4.77 billion due to increase in global oil prices averaging around USD90 per barrel in 2022.

Government expenditure also increased 5.3 per cent to BND6.08 billion compared BND5.78 billion for 2021-2022 financial year. This resulted in BND260.46 million budget surplus after recording continuous budget deficit since 2019-2020 financial year.

With world oil prices exceeding USD80 and decrease in O&G production due to scheduled closures for maintenance, the government’s revenue forecast for the 2023-2024 financial year has been updated to BND3.22 billion compared to original estimate of BND2.99 billion.

Government expenditure for this financial year is estimated to be BND5.92 billion, compared to BND5.96 billion in the 2022-2023 financial year, by taking into account additional allocations to fund expenditures under miscellaneous services and BND2.1 million to finance food expenses under the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Development expenditure is projected to be BND373.82 million compared to BND500 million that was approved due to re-evaluation of user requirements and project scope.

Based on the estimated revenue collection and expenditure, the government is expected to record a budget deficit of BND2.70 billion in the 2023-2024 financial year, the minister said. – Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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