Brunei to take SME census

National 2 minutes, 44 seconds


THE Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) will embark on a census of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help it develop better interventions.

The ministry has begun a trial-run on collecting the census data with a handful of companies to understand the SCORE (SME Competitiveness Rating for Enhancement) programme from SME Corp Malaysia.

Deputy Permanent Secretary of MIPR Mohd Riza Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos said that the ministry has been working together with SME Corp Malaysia since last year.

“Hopefully this year, we can do this programme on a wider basis involving most SMEs,” he said, noting the process takes time.

Dato Hafsah Hashim, Chief Executive Officer of SME Corp Malaysia, said that MIPR had reached out to the organisation last year to be able to introduce SCORE to Brunei.

“We need to track them (SMEs) to see their performance at different levels, and only then are we able to track them at a macro level. Otherwise, we won’t be able to see how the SMEs’ growth is and how they are performing,” said Dato Hafsah.

She said that getting a clearer picture of how the SMEs are doing in Brunei could influence the government to better allocate resources that the government may want to invest in the sector. These could be in the form of incentives, subsidies, or even training to enhance the capabilities of the local entrepreneurs.

“What you can’t measure, you can’t plan, and what you can’t plan, you can’t manage, because you cannot have a feel of whether (the SMEs) are growing or not growing,” she said.

Dato Hafsah said that the first thing Brunei needs to do quickly is to perform a census. With that starting point, MIPR would be able to look at the figures and gauge the current state of the SME sector, she added.

Dato Hafsah said it would typically take SME Corp Malaysia three to six months to do the census, with additional time to analyse the figures.

“So you would be looking at nine to 12 months depending on the size of the companies, but in Brunei it would probably be shorter because I was told there are about 9,000 to 10,000 companies, which can be done in three months,” said the SME Corp Malaysia chief executive.

She added that once the figures are collected, the ministry would be able to narrow down the state of the SMEs. For example, they would be able to identify the weaknesses in the economics of the system, and come up with areas on how to address the issues.

“Brunei will be able to know what to do next in order to spur growth and catapult the growth to the next level of excellence,” she said.

“Hopefully, with the data, we can better plan the development requirement for the SMEs, and that is the first thing we want to do,” said Mohd Riza of MIPR.

SME Corp Malaysia is currently in Brunei to help MIPR figure out how to roll out this programme.

“What we plan to do is to get as many agencies to be involved so that those agencies concerned, such as banks and other ministries, will be able to do the SCORE programme on the SMEs,” he said.

The Brunei Times