Brunei committed towards economic diversification
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI remains committed to diversifying its economy away from an overdependence on oil and gas, the Minister of Finance II has said.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim said the government has undertaken structural reforms to achieve this goal through the establishment of a Strategic Development Capital Fund and a Sustainability Fund.
The former provides risk capital for local development while the latter is for prudent management of surplus revenue when oil and gas prices are high. Money in these funds is set aside for projects and investments that aid economic diversification.
Apart from these funds, the Ministry of Finance is constantly seeking ways to attract investment and boost business activity, the minister said in an interview recently published in the Oxford Business Group (OBG) 2014 country report on Brunei.
The oil and gas sector accounts for about 70 per cent of Brunei’s gross domestic product.
Government-linked companies (GLCs) were also created to spur investment, however their growth has been limited, prompting the ministry to consolidate management and ownership of GLCs through a single holding company – Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Rahman added that the national budget for 2014/2015 focuses on similar themes of stimulating economic growth and creating employment.
For the fiscal year, the government has devised three key economic strategies – strengthen education and training; stimulate investment by enhancing the role of private sector; and improve productivity.
The minister said in the current global environment, it is important to achieve more robust growth through enhancing productivity.
“This is fundamental to stay competitive in a rapidly changing global economy… with an enhanced level of productivity, costs can be reduced, quality of work can be improved and greater revenue can be achieved.”
He added that key areas where productivity can be improved include human resources, investment and research development, and innovation and technology.
Special attention will also be given to small and medium enterprises so they develop into an important contributor of growth and provide permanent employment opportunities.
The Brunei Times