Fact-finding mission on delayed projects
Azlan Othman

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, said he will go to the ground to take a closer look at National Development Plan (NDP) projects, some of which have been hit by delays in order to tackle the problems and find solutions.

Expressing his concern over the implementation of the 9th NDP projects at the launching of the 10th NDP yesterday at the International Convention Centre, His Royal Highness called for a review of achievements in every sector.

"This should be based on the performance in every ministry in implementing previous NDP (projects) which on average are only capable of recording expenditures of around 60 per cent of the budget allocated.

"The direct impact (of the delayed projects) on the 10th NDP is that 60 per cent of the allocation needed is to finance 480 delayed projects from the 2007-2012 NDP and only 40 per cent is to finance 202 new (10th NDP) projects.

His Royal Highness said every ministry should take proactive and efficient steps in implementing the NDP projects to avoid 'dragging' the projects' implementation into the next NDP.

Ministries should provide tools to monitor the status of every project.

Implementation schedules should be provided from now onwards that covers core process of implementation such as the selection of consultants, project managers and the provision of tender documents which could be handled in parallel. If such core process could be made successfully, then development works could begin early or in the middle of the second year of the 10th NDP, His Royal Highness said.

In this context, the Executive Committee of the 10th NDP should make visits to the sites of NDP projects from time to time, His Royal Highness said.

"By the will of Allah, I will also go to the ground to take a closer look and ensure the implementation of the projects is according to schedule, besides holding discussions to tackle problems that have been identified and (identify) actions to solve (the problem)."

His Royal Highness said every ministry should streamline and monitor the targets that need to be achieved through Key Result Areas.

For instance, in the education sector, is it adequate to assess the achievement in this sector based on the percentage passes of students in the examination or should there be a need to set targets for important subjects like Science and Mathematics as early as in the primary level until the secondary level?

In the agricultural sector, is it adequate to measure the achievement in this sector in terms of cultivated land area only? Is it not more accurate to measure achievement through the production for every hectare of land that has been cultivated?

This applies to providing services to the public as well. The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) used should be comparable to the international best practices. In other words, the KPI should be able to stimulate employees to be more progressive and prevent the 'business as usual' attitude.

His Royal Highness said under the wise leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the living standards in the country have been enhanced through the previous NDPs.

The national development agenda will continue to be strengthened for the next five years through the 10th NDP.

"In this context, I express my sincere appreciation and thanks to my father for his consent in allocating B$6.5 billion for implementation, up by B$1.3 billion or 25 per cent from the previous 2007-2012 NDP allocation."

The 10th NDP has its special theme which is knowledge and innovation, enhancing productivity and speeding up the economic growth. The core message is to speed up the economic growth rate that will be generated through enhancing productivity in all aspects which certainly requires the level of achievement and acquisition of knowledge and to nurture the culture of innovations among the citizens and residents.

Hence, the 10th NDP prioritises efforts to speed up economic growth at a rate of six per cent annually in line with the regional economic growth.

His Royal Highness later toured an exhibition on various NDP projects.

Briefings on NDP for the public, which started yesterday and will run until Monday afternoon for JPKE, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, as well as Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) and Sg Liang Authority. - Borneo Bulletin (15 April 2012)