Foreign investors here for business opportunities

National 2 minutes, 59 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

INVESTORS from China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are currently in the sultanate to seek business opportunities and familiarise themselves with the processes with regards to investing in Brunei.

The group of 18 heads of companies attended an ‘Investors Engagement’ yesterday morning at the Design and Technology Building at Anggerek Desa with the Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office, several government officials and personnel from the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB).

During the session, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar said Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has a lot of potential for trade and investment opportunities, adding that Brunei is situated in the centre of the ASEAN region.

He spoke of how Brunei has streamlined the procedures of approving Foreign Direct Investment processes – especially on government approvals – in the past three months.

“We have reformed the way we do business in Brunei by taking initiatives to ensure business is conducive and viable for start-ups and international investors. We have cut down a lot of red-tape and bureaucracy, along with establishing an online platform for business registrations for efficiency purposes,” the minister said.

The minister said Brunei has also improved on its ranking in the last World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB).

Brunei is currently ranked at 84 compared to 105 in the previous year.

However, YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said they are aiming to achieve a ranking in the top 50 for the next EODB assessment.

The minister pointed out to potential investors that by the first week of April, a Business Support Centre will be launched and fully operational, to help businesses in information finding and centralising approvals, such as work permits for businesses.

“Also, in terms of workforce, we have done a lot in the oil and gas industry to prepare the workforce to be industry ready. We are going to carry this out for the industry sector in Brunei. I can assure you that we will invest on the training of our workforce,” YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said.

Speaking to The Brunei Times after the session, YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said having the potential investors here is a very good step for the country as a whole.

“What we need to do is to take this opportunity and really explain to them the strengths of Brunei and why they should come here to invest,” YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said.

The minister emphasised that investors should also look into ways of contributing to the “in-country value”.

“These are the sort of investments which can help our SMEs grow. If we can make sure that we are organised and have a one-government approach on this with less red-tape and bureaucracies, which is what our FDI Committee has been doing, as well as having the Ease of Doing Business Committee who has been working hard on cutting down business approvals to just one day, these investments will be good for Brunei,” he said.

China’s Fujian Pacific Network Technology Co Ltd’s Chairman was among the potential investors seeking investment opportunities here.

Wang Chengqing said his business is in import and export trading, and is here to look at any products that can be imported into China or whether there is potential in exporting products to Brunei.

“We are exploring opportunities in Brunei and we have seen a lot of it here and we will definitely be coming back to Brunei,” he said.

The Brunei Times