US$4.7b worth of FDI projects in implementation stage

National 3 minutes, 17 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

NINE foreign direct investments (FDI) with a total investment value of over US$4.7 billion are currently in their implementation stage here in Brunei, the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) said yesterday.

These companies include Brunei Fertiliser Industries Sdn Bhd (ammonia and urea production); Western Foods and Packaging Sdn Bhd (margarine manufacturing) and Hiseaton Fisheries (B) Sdn Bhd (integrated fishery project).

Head of the FDI Action and Support Centre (FAST) Hjh Norul Hasanah Hj Hassanol Asshari said that from 2017 to 2019, all the FDI projects will be operational and create 1,600 direct job opportunities in the country.

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 5,000 indirect job opportunities will also be created.

These indirect opportunities from spin-off will create jobs in legal services, architectural, engineering, transport and logistics, IT, security, bank and insurance services and building contractors, among many others.

Currently, Hjh Norul Hasanah said there are eight FDI companies that are already operational, including pharmaceutical, manufacturing, bio-technology, business services and downstream oil and gas.

“These investments are worth approximately US$900 million, and have created job opportunities to (over 400) people, 75 per cent of which are locals,’’ she said, adding there is opportunity to increase employment to another 700 through indirect opportunities.

To date, Hjh Norul Hasanah said they have received 27 proposals from investors, 14 of which are in the pipelines and 13 are currently operational and implemented.

“These are spread across the business services, downstream oil and gas, halal and technology and creative industries,’’ she said.

She said in order to meet the Vision 2035 objectives, five clusters have been identified where Brunei has strength in and will focus efforts on.

The five clusters are: halal, technology and creative industry, business services, tourism and downstream oil and gas.

She said one of the reasons Brunei is launching numerous efforts for FDIs is because they are recognised as a catalyst to economic growth and diversification.

“The introduction of these FDIs will transfer knowledge and efficiency to the people and businesses in Brunei.

“To facilitate the coming in of FDIs, we have introduced a streamlined process. When a foreign investor comes into Brunei, they come here with an investment proposal. So we work together with the investor, formulate an investment proposal suited to both Brunei and their requirements,’’ she said.

Hjh Norul Hasanah added the proposal then undergoes a series of analysis and evaluation with relevant stakeholders.

“Once the analysis and evaluation are completed, this is shared with the FDI working and steering committee, chaired by the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance II,’’ she said.

The head of FAST added they are determined to undertake all these investment approval processes within a period of under eight weeks.

Meanwhile, she noted Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd (Integrated Refinery and Aromatics Cracker) has recently expressed interest to initiate Phase Two of its project, which will bring in an additional US$6 billion. This brings their total investment to US$10 billion.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin explained Hengyi is now keen on accelerating the speed of the project two to three years ahead, by simultaneously carrying out Phase Two.

The minister said initially, Phase Two of the project was supposed to follow suit after Phase One begins operations in 2019.

On the Brunei Guangxi Economic Corridor Developments, the EIDPMO said there has been a committed aquaculture investment valued at $15 million.

In September 2014, the Brunei government and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor.

The corridor is to act as a direct supply chain link aimed at boosting trade and investment valued at $500 million.

The EIDPMO said recent investment delegations received by the Brunei government to assess opportunities include ports development, spice trading, manufacturing of electric vehicles, development of an oyster industry, seafood trading, pharmaceuticals and milk production.

The Brunei Times