Additional economic relief package rolls out tomorrow

Izah Azahari

The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) on behalf of the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) and Brunei Association of Banks (BAB) yesterday announced additional steps to the interim measures taken by the Brunei Government in aiding various micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 revealed that these steps include an additional economic relief package that will be introduced on April 1, in total amounting to approximately BND250 million in the form of deferment of principal or loan repayment and exemption of fees and charges.

This measure, combined with previously announced fiscal assistance – such as deferment of payments on the Employees Trust Fund (TAP) and Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP) contributions and increasing the capacity of workers – including business productivity, will boost the economic stimulus package for Brunei Darussalam for COVID-19, totalling BND450 million.

The packages announced are specific to all business sectors in the country and individuals, including those who are self-employed. The additional assistance hopes to ease the financial burden on businesses and affected individuals.

The packages are deferment of principal payment of loans or financing for all sectors; restructuring and deferring principal amounts on personal loans and hire purchase facilities such as car loans or financing for not more than 10 years; provision of deferment of principal amount or financing for real estate; restructuring the outstanding credit card balance to loans for a period of not more than three years for individuals affected in the private sector only including the self-employed, but this measure will not increase the credit card limit amount during the three-year period; and all bank fees and charges, except for third party charges, will not be applied.

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 speaks to the media. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

The minister added that the postponement will begin from the date of application approval until March 31, 2021. Companies and individuals may apply for Suspension and Restructuring at their banks or financial institutions between April 1 and December 30, 2020.

“I must emphasise that applications are subject to the scrutiny of the banks and respective financial institutions,” said the minister.

“With the addition of these relief measures, banks are expected to be able to support businesses and individuals who are affected, thus alleviating their financial burden in these difficult circumstances.”

The minister also said that AMBD had assured that the banking sector in Brunei Darussalam remains resilient, stable and has sufficient capital funds. At the same time, AMBD will continue to monitor the development of the situation, along with financial institutions.

The public can contact their banks, call AMBD at 2388388 or email [email protected] for information on these measures.