BIMP-EAGA can overcome COVID, says deputy minister

Rokiah Mahmud

Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) will be able to overcome the impact of COVID-19, rebuild its economy and bounce back stronger through strengthening the cooperation and commitments towards accomplishing the goals outlined in the BIMPEAGA Vision 2025 (BEV 2025), said Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin at the 24th BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting held via video conferencing recently.

Philippines’ Undersecretary for Department of Trade and Industry Abdul Gani Macatoman chaired the meeting joined by BIMP-EAGA signing ministers, senior officials, ASEAN Secretary General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Director General of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Woochong Um, BIMP-EAGA National Secretariats, BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Centre (BIMP-FC), BIMP-EAGA Business Council as well as chairs of clusters and working groups.

Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin and officers from the Trade Division of the MoFE were also present.

The meeting also took note of the 29th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Report, which highlighted the implementation status of 88 priority infrastructure projects (PIPs), progress of clusters and working groups as well as the preliminary findings for the mid-term review (MTR) towards the BIMP-EAGA Vision (BEV) 2025.

The final report of the MTR is expected to be completed in 2022.

In addition, the meeting also provided guidance and recommendation to leverage on existing ASEAN initiatives in particular the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap (BSBR).

The BSBR initiative aims to prioritise actions harnessed through information technology (IT) applications and improve cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination of ASEAN bodies in the area of digital transformation.

It also acknowledged the cooperation between BIMP-EAGA and development partners, and agreed to strengthen partnerships through the existing frameworks.

The meeting further discussed the preparation for the 14th BIMP-EAGA Summit which will be chaired by Indonesia.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin during the meeting. PHOTO: MOFE