Home affairs ministry holds talks with LegCo

National 1 minute, 38 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

CREATING employment, removing barriers to business; and developing cottage industries will remain the key priorities of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) in the coming year, said the MoHA minister yesterday.

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong said creating efficient licensing processes and regulations was crucial to attract foreign investment to the sultanate.

“The competitiveness of a country is measured by its capability to attract investment and business compared to the others,” he said during a closed-door meeting with members of the Legislative Council (LegCo), ahead of parliament’s annual meeting in March.

Reducing the processing time for a business license application has helped improve Brunei’s “ease of doing business” score assigned by the World Bank. The country’s ranking rose from 105th in 2015 to 84th in 2016. Among ASEAN countries, Brunei is fourth after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

“We are hoping that with the improved eco-system, not only will more foreign business be persuaded to invest in the sultanate, but local entrepreneurs will be encouraged to improve their business performance,” said Pehin Dato Hj Awg Abu Bakar.

The minister said MoHA also wants to enhance commercial activity in mukims and villages, improving local economies through the ‘One Village One Product’ initiative.

With Brunei’s population predicted to increase in the next two decades, he added, this presents various challenges to creating employment, including the job placement ratio of foreign workers to local staff.

“The first issue that needs to be addressed is the increasing percentage of jobseekers with high academic qualifications but with different job expectations,” the minister said.

“The ministry has endeavoured to fulfil their desires and expectations by way of better labour management and more professional placement of jobs.”

Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Hj Awg Abu Bakar said the ministry has also undergone wide-ranging upgrades in its ICT infrastructure, which has made daily tasks faster, cost-effective and more efficient.

The Brunei Times