Virtual market platform to support MSMEs

Izah Azahari

The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) in cooperation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) will introduce a virtual market platform – Community for Brunei, today to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) impacted by the current COVID-19 outbreak.

This was announced by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah following a press release issued by the MoHA on April 6 on the cancellation of this year’s Gerai Ramadhan under the control of the municipal departments, district offices and the Department of Youth and Sports to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The minister said that the Community for Brunei initiative is part of the roles of the MoFE in ensuring that the industries in Brunei continue to be resilient, such as the food and beverage industry.

With Community for Brunei, the minister said the objective is to provide a platform that will gather and integrate Brunei’s community to help MSMEs sell their goods in the virtual market, and for the public to buy virtually and make payments digitally via debit or credit cards.

Its website supported by BIBD, is inspired and managed by local youth from The Collective, Think Axis Solutions, Alicia Neue and several others who have similar goals specifically to help MSMEs, the minister added.

A person makes an online purchase using Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam debit card. PHOTO: BIBD

The minister said that the Community for Brunei will launch two projects – the Community for COVID project which will be launched today and the Community for Ramadhan which will be launched on the first of Ramadhan, 1441 Hijrah.

The Community for COVID project will inform the public of identified frontliner needs such as food and beverages and other necessities that will be shared through the website for the public to select the necessities they wish to donate and send to frontliners at Health Centres for COVID-19 in all four districts.

“This platform hopes to identify the demand and supply, and at the same time, avoid wastage,” said the minister.

Apart from vendors comprising MSMEs, the minister said that companies such as runners and shipping companies like GoMamam and Dart can grow in facing these challenging times.

“This initiative will facilitate and better coordinate the aspirations of Bruneians who want to help in our society, especially the needs of frontliners,” said the minister.

Meanwhile touching on the Community of Ramadhan project, the minister said it will also be under the website and will provide the public a chance to still experience the atmosphere of the Gerai Ramadhan via online even without the physical Gerai Ramadhan being held this year.

The onboarding or entry of MSME operators, added the minister, will open on Monday and several guidelines will be described by BIBD through the media today.

“It is hoped that MSMEs will benefit from this virtual market by providing people with the option to choose and buy food and beverages to break their fast and be delivered to their home or location,” said the minister.

“The provision of this virtual market also adheres to all the regulations and advice of the Ministry of Health (MoH) which advocates physical and social distancing.”

The minister said virtual market applicants must first apply online at the Registry of Companies and Business Names (ROCBN) Section at the MoFE by filling in the details required for owners of the 56 business activity for food and beverage service activities, where the first 300 business registration applications until April 30 will be exempt from the registration fee. “Insya Allah with this ongoing effort, we are embracing the Whole-of-Nation and Whole-of-Society approaches for us to collectively address and overcome the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on this country,” said the minister.

For business registration procedures, refer to the ROCBN Section at 2380505 or 2383444, or via e-mail at [email protected]