New measures, de-escalation to boost Brunei economy

Syazwani Hj Rosli

The country is not totally free from COVID-19 yet, 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 said yesterday.

He said this in response to a question on new measures by the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) considering that the COVID-19 situation in the country is under control.

“No matter what situation we are currently in, we still need to follow directives of the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“With the new de-escalation plan we just announced and further measures in the coming weeks, we hope to speed up economic activities in the country,” the minister said.

The minister, citing an example, said with the increase in capacity at restaurants under the second phase, the premises will be able to accommodate more dine-in customers.

“Even before COVID-19 some businesses often had 60 per cent seating capacity. So if you look at it that way, most businesses are operating close to normal already.

“Hopefully we can move to the third and fourth phases and other businesses will be able to operate as usual,” he added.

In terms of the economic strategy, Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said the MoFE had discussions with potential investors over the phone due to travel restrictions.

“We have a few investors. Once COVID-19 is over, they are ready to come here and we can move forward with the investment,” he said.

“The MoFE is also doing a lot of planning and strategies looking at each industry, what is the roadmap for some of these industries, what are the potential type of activities that we can bring in, the type of activities within the industry and the value chain that we can identify and continue to promote.

“These are the works that we have been doing. Because of COVID-19 we are not able to meet them personally. We communicate via telephone and hopefully once COVID-19 is over, all this will materialise benefitting local SMEs and providing jobs to locals.”