Brunei, Japan negotiating new agreement on cost-share technical cooperation

Lyna Mohamad

In a briefing session for Brunei media personnel last month in Tokyo, Suzuki Toshiyasu – the Assistant Director of the Southeast Asia Division 2, Southeast Asia and Pacific Department for JICA – said that the Japanese and Bruneian governments are negotiating a new agreement on cost-share technical cooperation.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), along with its partners, is taking the lead in forging bonds for a free, peaceful and prosperous world where people can hope for a better future and explore diverse potentials.

JICA is advancing its activities around the pillars of a field-oriented approach, human security, and enhanced effectiveness, efficiency, and speed. One of its activities is the Official Development Assistance (ODA), with the requirements defined by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

ODA is broadly divided into bilateral aid, in which assistance is given directly to developing countries, and multilateral aid, which is provided through international organisations.

Bilateral aid consists of Finance and Investment Cooperation (ODA loans and Private Sector Investment Finance) and grants (grant aid and technical cooperation). Of these, JICA provides concessional loans as ODA loans.

Assistant Director of the Southeast Asia Division 2, Southeast Asia and Pacific Department for
JICA Suzuki Toshiyasu. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

The requirement for this assistance is that it should be undertaken by governments or government agencies, since the main objective is the promotion of economic development and welfare in developing countries; and it has concessional terms, having a grant element of at least 25 per cent.

When Japan began its bilateral cooperation with Brunei Darussalam, there was only limited ODA due to Brunei Darussalam’s outstanding economic development and achievement of high income per capita (USD14,522) in 1996. It then stopped its ODA in 1998.

He added that after the conclusion of the agreement, JICA will be able to resume technical cooperation with Brunei. However, as the technical cooperation agreement does not cover the volunteer programme, another agreement between the Japanese and Bruneian governments would be necessary to dispatch volunteer(s).

According to statistics provided at the briefing, the list of Japan’s cooperation includes training in Japan (1,134 people), dispatch of experts (114 people), dispatch of survey (237 people), provision of equipment and machinery JPY (416,300,000), Technical Cooperation Project (two) and Development Survey (five).

The bilateral cooperation between Japan and Brunei Darussalam began in 1984, the same year Brunei gained its independence.