| Azlan Othman |
NEW shops, which are categorised as “simple” and “low risk”, can start business the day after they are registered after the amendment to the Miscellaneous Licence Act took effect on January 1, 2015.
The good news for business people was announced yesterday by officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, who also spelt out the new guidelines to start a business under the Miscellaneous Licence Act (Amendment) 2015.
Present at the briefing were the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin, who is also the Head of the Champion Groups of the Steering Committee of Ease of Doing Business (EOBD), Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Hjh Normah Suria Hayati binti Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Hj Awg Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, who is the Secretary of the Steering Committee of the EOBD, and deputy permanent secretaries at both ministries.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented for the Miscellaneous Licence Act Order (Amendment) 2015 to be enforced on January 1, 2015 with the aim of establishing a pro-business and customer-friendly environment.
Business Licences, which are issued under the Miscellaneous Licence Act Order (Amendment) 2015, will replace the current Miscellaneous Licences and any licences issued by the Municipal Board. Licences issued before January 1, 2015 are still valid until their expiry date.
The Business Licences will be issued by a licensing authority as soon as the Company Establishment Certificate for Sendirian Berhad and Registration Certificate term 16/17 are issued to enable vendors to start their business according to regulations and guidelines stipulated.
To start a business, the applicant has to register for a Registration of Certificate at the Ministry of Finance before they can get a Business Licence. The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a counter at the Ministry of Finance so that the entrepreneurs do not have to go from one ministry to another in the application process.
The “low risk” or “simple” business, which include retail, shoe, tailor or barber shops where renovations are not needed can start to operate when they have been registered and have a Registration of Certificate and an Occupational Permit (OP).
“Complicated businesses such as restaurants can start operating, provided they already have two certificates, namely, the Registration of Certificate and adhere to guidelines such as on Halal certificate within six months,” Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy said.
“Business people can earn a dollar the next day (after receiving the licence) provided their businesses comply with the guidelines to set up the shops. There would be less hassle now,” Hjh Normah Suria Hayati added.
For the renewal of a licence, applicants in Brunei-Muara District have to go to a ‘One Biz’ Section at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, while applicants in the other three districts have to go to the Licensing Section of the respective District Office. A ‘One Biz’ section will be set up in the other three districts soon.
Hjh Normah Suria Hayati said this move would facilitate business for foreign investors and local entrepreneurs and improve the ease of doing business in the country.
Pg Hj Ali bin Pg Hj Othman, Senior Administrative Officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs, said, “Once the business is registered with a Registration of Certificate and a licence is issued at the ground floor of the Ministry of Finance where the Ministry of Home Affairs has also set up a counter, the applicants can start their business but they have to fulfil the guidelines.”
He said businesses will be monitored by enforcement officers who will take action if the businesses violate the rules.
“Previously, to start a business, a Miscellaneous Licence (Lesen Rampaian) was issued by the District Office and the Chairman of the Municipal Board. And for a car business or filling station, previously the applicant had to go to the Promotion and Entrepreneurship Development Section of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources. (But) effective January 1, 2015, it (licence) is called a ‘Business Licence’.”
Hjh Mariani binti Hj Sabtu, Head of EOBD Division at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, said the reformation will create a better and conducive business environment which will improve the Sultanate’s ranking in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report.
The changes will have a favourable impact on SMEs, which account for more than 90 per cent of businesses in the country.
“It would not be 100 per cent smooth sailing. There may be some teething problems,” added Hjh Mariani.
Eleven indicators were used in the World Bank EOBD Report with ‘Starting a Business’ being one of the components.
On Nasi Katok stalls that are mushrooming in the country, Pg Hj Ali said they also have to apply for a licence and must adhere to the requirements set by the authorities such as suitability of site for such a business.
In the 2015 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report, Brunei Darussalam’s ranking slipped from the 98th position in 2014 to 101st. In the Starting a Business index, Brunei came in 179th place in 2015 compared to 176th in 2014.
For the Doing Business 2015, the World Bank has introduced several changes in methodology and scope of assessment from a heavy focus on the efficiency factors towards the assessment of the quality of legal infrastructure within an economy and how they promote efficiency in the delivery of services.
The revision of this methodology, which shifted from the ordinal system based on percentile to cardinal metric ranking system, sees a new scoring structure based on the ‘Distance To Frontier (DTF)’ from the Best Performers / Practice of participating economies.
The use of aggregate values of the overall DTF scoring across 10 Ease of Doing Business indicators is now the basis of the new ranking for each of the economies. More cities were also surveyed and the indicator scope has also been widened.