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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Falling oil prices fail to push civil servants to save

Wail Wardi Wasil and Rachel Thien

PLUNGING oil prices have yet to force civil servants in Brunei to save for a rainy day, with government employees saying they need to use their annual bonus to pay off debts.

Droves of civil servants yesterday flocked to banks around the sultanate after receiving their annual bonuses.

Most civil servants interviewed by The Brunei Times said they are aware of the falling oil prices, but admitted to not being able to save money due to other obligations.

Mohd Ali Noor Yussof, 31, said he is going to use his annual bonus to pay for his children’s education such as school uniforms, books and stationeries.

“My youngest is still a baby, so what is left over from my annual bonus will probably go to her and also the house utilities as well as repairs for my car,” said the father of three.

Ministry of Development employee Zamri Hj Jaludin said Bruneians tend to spend than save because they are too used to being dependent on the government.

“In Brunei, everything is paid for; education, healthcare and many other things, so we (Bruneians) tend to think there is no need to save because all the important expenses are already handled by the state,” said the 47-year-old.

Zulwaqar Hj Zulzali, 27, said many Bruneians are not concerned about the slump in global oil prices because the effects are not yet apparent to them.

“Even when there are budgets cuts experienced by the ministries, civil servants and members of the public will not feel the impact because their salaries are not affected, which causes them to not care as much,” he added.

“Once the public see that the price of everything is starting to rise, then maybe they’ll think about what they are going to do during this recession,” said Shahirah Hamizah Hj Sahri, 26, a civil servant who did not wish her position to be stated.

According to a Reuters report, oil fell to $37.11 a barrel yesterday, with prices expected to stay low for some time.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Council (LegCo) representative of Belait district Zone 1 said residents need to realise the impact of plunging oil prices on Brunei and not continue seeking more government welfare during tough economic times.

Yang Berhormat Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad said he will soon raise awareness on the country’s current economic situation to his residents and that the government is doing what it can to minimise the impact of oil prices on its people.

“I would like my village residents to be considerate of this situation. Do not ask for too much while the country is facing difficulties,” he said.

YB Hj Mohd Shafiee said the global slump in oil prices is not really talked about among residents in his village.

“They (village residents) are not really talking about the situation, as they are much more concerned about their welfare and benefits,” he said.

He said the low oil prices affect everyone in the country, and that people should be concerned and do what they can to help the government.

“We must all work together and help the government when they are facing difficulties,” he added.

Sumber - The Brunei Times

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