Nepotism, complacency must end

National 2 minutes, 9 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE minister of primary resources and tourism yesterday urged local companies to end complacency and nepotism in a serious move to bolster economic growth amid the global oil crisis.

Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong, drawing on his experience as former chair of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), said some local companies were “easily satisfied” with their achievements after attaining a certain level of success.

“This is reflected in their income, which has remained stagnant over the past decade,” he said, lamenting it was a common trend among established companies.

In his vote of thanks at the 12th Legislative Council (LegCo), the minister said these local companies do not record growth and are unable to export their products abroad as “they are too comfortable” in the domestic market.

He pointed out potential investors have also voiced concern over local companies that are plagued by nepotism.

“These companies are managed by family members instead of professionals and their management is not in accordance with international best practices. All this causes investment fund managers to feel uneasy,” he said.

YB Dato Hj Ali added it will lead to potential investors taking more time before deciding whether to provide capital injections to such companies.

“Capital can only be injected into the company if the company has aspirations to grow continuously including breaking into exports,” he said, noting they should also appreciate good governance which covers principles such as appreciating talent in management.

Citing official statistics for 2014, the minister explained Brunei’s GDP is based on the total of income from companies operating in the country minus their respective intermediate costs.

“Therefore, if we want to see our country’s economy continue to grow, the companies’ revenues in the country must continue to grow and this will not happen if our companies are targeting their products and sales to the domestic market,” he said.

He stressed that local companies, including government-linked companies, must enter foreign markets by exporting abroad.

YB Dato Hj Ali questioned whether local entrepreneurs, particularly successful companies generating $10 to $30 million in revenue, were willing to grow further in order to achieve revenue of up to $200 million annually over the next five to 10 years.

“Are they ready for large-scale operations or use modern technology to reduce production costs and increase productivity? Are they willing to explore the export market?”

“Do they want to incorporate good governance in managing their companies or are they willing to accept capital assistance from investors that will enable them to grow quickly and fast, and that can provide international market networking?”

The Brunei Times