Brunei now in world’s most competitive economy index

National 2 minutes, 44 seconds


BRUNEI is now included in the world’s most competitive economy index as reported by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum yesterday.

The 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report has put the sultanate at 58th place.

Several ASEAN countries were also included in the global list, such as Singapore which placed second and Malaysia at 25th place. Switzerland is considered the world’s most competitive economy.

In a statement, the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) said that this marks the country’s first ever entry into the benchmark index that rates the competitiveness of world economies.

“The report, widely recognised as the world’s leading assessment of competitiveness, highlighted that the top three most problematic factors for doing business in Brunei Darussalam were inefficient government bureaucracy, (lack of) access to financing and restrictive labour regulations,” said EIDPMO.

“This ranking comes at a time of significant focus by His Majesty’s Government to improve its business environment following the global drop in oil prices which hurt the economy. Diversification efforts have since intensified to ensure the economy’s sustainability, recognising that inefficiencies in the civil service need to be addressed to increase competitiveness and drive progress,” said EIDPMO.

EIDPMO said that it had carried out several reforms in the past year as part of its efforts to establish a pro-business environment including setting up the Business Support Centre, introducing the Collateral Registry System to help facilitate financing and reviewing the labour policy which is due for completion next month.

“The Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee is actively driving business reform to streamline inefficient government processes, ensure a competitive cost of doing business and that regulation is aligned with international best practice to address the top three identified barriers to business,” said EIDPMO.

“Improving the business environment and Brunei’s global competitiveness is a key priority of His Majesty’s Government to ensure that Brunei can sustain its growth towards achieving Wawasan 2035,” said EIDPMO.

EIDPMO had earlier carried out a study on its global competitiveness involving companies in Brunei from various industries in collaboration with Universiti Brunei Darussalam between March and May this year in preparation for this year’s report.

The annual index gives ratings on 12 factors of the economy to decide a final average rating for Brunei of 4.3 out of 7.

The index cited Brunei’s health and primary education as its best attribute with a 6.3 rating while unsurprisingly, market size was its most prominent drawback with a 2.7 rating given.

The ASEAN region generally fared worse compared with last year, with only Brunei and Singapore not falling down the ranks in this year’s ranking of 138 countries.

Laos and Myanmar were not included in this year’s index.

The podium places of the index remain unchanged from the previous year with Switzerland, Singapore and United States maintaining their places at the top, respectively.

The Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab said in the report that declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.

The annual report is compiled based on opinions from business leaders on issues ranging from the state of an economy’s institutions to the country’s health and educational infrastructure.

The Brunei Times