| James Kon |
BESIDES attracting an inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Brunei Darussalam is hoping to build a core group of promising local enterprises that can collectively contribute to a cumulative revenue of $1 billion within a five to 10-year time frame to meet the Vision 2035 goals.
The role of local businesses in contributing to the growth of the economy was highlighted by Dato Paduka Hj Ali bin Hj Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, yesterday in his keynote address at the Oxford Business Group Brunei Darussalam Panel Discussion event at the International Convention Centre.
To achieve this, he said, these companies would undergo a transformation programme to ensure they had the right foundation and were implementing proper corporate governance.
“The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) will work with the companies so that they can be strengthened in key areas such as management, human resources, products and services, operations and financial sustainability.”
Hoping to see Bruneian multinational and public listed companies in the future, he highlighted, “We are striving to equip the local companies to be ‘investment ready’ so that they can secure funds to implement their strategic growth plans and create value within the targeted time frame.
Dato Paduka Hj Ali, who is also Chairman of BEDB, explained the importance of diversifying the economy from oil and gas.
“According to the Department of Economic Planning and Development of the Prime Minister’s Office reports for 2010 to 2013, our GDP growth fluctuated between a positive growth of 2.6 per cent in 2010 to a negative of 1.8 per cent in 2013, indicating that our economy remains stagnant.”
He also highlighted His Majesty’s titah in August this year when it was reiterated that the economy must grow at a rate of five to six per cent per annum – increasing national income from $20 billion today to $80 billion by 2035.
“Our current annual economic growth rate does not suffice. Brunei’s economy needs to be less reliant on the oil and gas sector, which currently accounts for more than 60 per cent of our GDP and 90 per cent of exports.
“The inflow of FDI can help stimulate the export industry, diversify the economy, create business opportunities for local SMEs and create job opportunities. BEBD will continue to attract new FDIs, particularly in the non-oil and gas sectors such as services, info-communications and life sciences.”
Before closing, Dato Paduka Hj Ali encouraged local SMEs and start-ups to practise proper governance and make it a priority to have diligent financial reporting, well-designed resource management processes and productive management structures as they are key composites of growth and success in the global market.
He also encouraged local SMEs and start-ups to strategise their businesses towards a global outlook.