Cut cost of doing business in Brunei

National 1 minute, 47 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

POLICY and procedures need to be simplified to create an environment where the cost of doing business is minimised in the sultanate.

Shazali Sulaiman, a partner at auditing firm KPMG and executive secretary of the Brunei Darussalam International Chamber of Commerce, said: "This issue has been raised by individuals who want to start businesses in Brunei. The number of policies and processes they have to go through to start a business sometimes are not consistent in terms of labour, miscellaneous and licence procedures".

Giving a talk at LiveWIRE's 'Become a Successful Owner Manager' workshop yesterday, he said most individuals want to start their businesses quickly and not be burdened with overhead costs even before actually starting operations.

"As you know, to get the miscellaneous licence, you have to rent (shop space) and you cannot start your business until your miscellaneous licence is approved. In the time period you rent and get your licence approved, the company will be running at massive losses before they even start and companies also have to start paying loans almost immediately," said Sulaiman.

There is also a lack of information available to people who are starting a business even though the government has improved the government procedures, he added.

He acknowledged some of the new policies meant to encourage businesses in Brunei that were introduced at the recent State Legislative Council Meeting, such as the exemption from the tax on profits for the first four years.

"The government is trying to ... make Brunei a much more investor friendly country."

He added that these fiscal incentives will obviously encourage people to do business.

Moreover, Shazali suggested that organisations concerned formulate a scheme allowing small and medium enterprises a grace period for bank loans.

"Businesses take time to settle down, to establish themselves and the grace period would certainly help a lot of companies. If they were to give a grace period of maybe, one year to two years for the payment of the principal amount and only collect payment for the service interest, it would help a lot," he said.

The Brunei Times