Private sector,youth urged to step up diversification efforts

, , National 3 minutes, 51 seconds


THE volatile oil prices have forced Brunei to conduct a reality check on its economy, with senior government officials saying it is time for youth and the private sector to step up.

Minister of Communications Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat said the instability of oil prices has time and again reminded the need to increase diversification efforts and seek other ways to grow the economy.

“No doubt as a nation, we have done much to strengthen our national unity, progress and peace. But in the face of economic uncertainty challenges, we have to do a reality check and look at our economic fundamentals,” he said on the sidelines of the 32nd National Day parade yesterday.

YB Dato Hj Mustappa said economic fundamentals meant focusing more on the important role of the private sector in boosting the economy, and in manpower development.

He said the government has taken “important measures” to improve the business climate including reducing bureaucracy and ease of doing business.

“The Ministry of Communications is at the moment, taking an active role in looking at enhancing the mobility of people, goods and services by improving connectivity and reliability in public transport system.

“This in turn will hopefully create dynamism and opportunities, economic space, resilience and competitiveness. But more importantly, it also helps in addressing other social issues related to immobility in the country,” he added.

Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office YB Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar said entrepreneurs should take heed of the monarch’s titah to do more for Brunei. “We have been through the good and bad sides of oil prices. I wish to repeat that as long as we stick to our own ways of overcoming issues and according to our basic principle of MIB, I see no issue for us in trying to move onto the next level.

“His Majesty has said that we have our own ways to deal with any situation, and that our MIB philosophy always plays an important role. We must look at our challenges and turn them into opportunities, and this is where we have to work hard,” he continued.

Following his recent working trip to the United States, the minister said it is clear that innovation, entrepreneurship and digital economy are where the world economy is heading. “This is why we want our ease of doing business to be very efficient and made into a one-stop centre, and we are working and heading into that direction,” the minister said.

With the launch of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), the new statutory body that is driven by industry players to nurture and support local enterprises from startup to growth, the minister said the climate of doing business will improve here. “I think our entrepreneurs have a lot of potential. They have a lot of capability and they are as good as any other entrepreneurs outside of Brunei.

“I have confidence that with our young talents who are thriving abroad, and this is a positive sign,” he added.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof said citizens should not be reliant on the government for handouts.

“The content of the titah is very explicit. We hope that the young generation will take heed of the titah. They need to start thinking of building the country. They have to realise they are important agents of change,” he added.

Meanwhile, Legislative Council (LegCo) representative of Belait District Zone 1 Yang Berhormat Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad said projects need to be prioritised according to the demands and needs of the country.

He reminded the public to spend prudently, as well as support government initiatives in boosting the country’s economic growth. “Let’s unite and maintain Brunei as being a beautiful, prosperous and peaceful country, and to be fully committed in living with our MIB philosophy and being a Zikir Nation,” he said.

Another LegCo member YB Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Hamid Bakal said members of the public should try to be less dependent on the government, and support its move in finding businesses and industries that can be developed.

“The government is encouraging the people to do their best in developing other sectors, and had been spending the budget wisely to help stabilise Brunei’s economy.

“So let us be less dependent on the government and have our own initiatives on how we can help improve our beloved country,” he added.

The Brunei Times