Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Borneo could be epicentre for vibrant, sustainable economy

Rokiah Mahmud

Borneo has the potential to be an epicentre for a vibrant and sustainable business and economy due to its abundance in natural resources, diverse cultures and strategic location.

This was shared by Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin in his keynote address during the Business Roundtable on Borneo at the Indera Samudera Grand Hall of The Empire Brunei yesterday.

The minister also said with Indonesia’s relocation of its capital city to East Kalimantan will further enhance Borneo’s vitality, particularly with the rapid spur of a wide range of development.

In realising the projected economic growth and to support the vibrancy of the economy of the region as well as to be on track with the accelerating development, certain aspects need to be in place, he said.

One critical factor, the minister said, is on the connectivity within the region.

“Initiatives to enhance connectivity among countries and states within and outside the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region need to be rigorously planned and implemented.

“For the Sultanate, strategic initiatives have been planned and implemented by agencies and private sectors, such as Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd and Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE).”

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin during the event. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Awang Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin during the event. PHOTO: MUIZ MATDANI

The minister also noted that efforts have been made to realise the establishment of a BIMP-EAGA Transshipment Hub in the country.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf said it is in line with the effort to improve connectivity as well as support Brunei Darussalam’s maritime industry under the Service Industry Roadmap.

“Through this”, the minister shared, “Muara Port is envisioned to be a stable shipping and transshipment hub within the region considering its strategic location. Furthermore, it has the potential to supplement other major ports in Borneo.

“By improving the connectivity, it will support and service growing business and trade volumes within and outside Borneo.”

He added, “It is vital to improve land and air connectivity, as well as strengthen people-to-people connectivity by promoting and increasing mobility within Borneo and connecting the island with the rest of the world.

“With improved connectivity, the seamless flow of not only goods and services, but also movement of people across Borneo and the world, there will be positive impact to the business landscape.”

The Business Roundtable on Borneo brought together stakeholders in Borneo to discuss how to grow intra-Borneo trade and attract foreign direct investment.

The discussions also saw a number of presentations delivered by invited speakers including one on Nusantara, Indonesia’s new capital city and an introduction of ‘Dagang Borneo’ by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council of Brunei (ASEAN-BAC Brunei).

Dagang Borneo is an island-wide digital trade and impact investment platform for the Heart of Borneo.

The platform aims to provide access to finance and facilitate growth of sustainable social enterprises and circular economy portfolios.

At the same time, it supports seamless cross border trade flows, skilled talent mobility and net zero transition for micro, small and medium enterprises and communities leveraging digital trust technology.

The Business Roundtable on Borneo is an element of the Brunei Economy Programme hosted by ASEAN and APEC Business Advisory Councils of Brunei Darussalam in collaboration with the MoFE, and in partnership with leading public and private sector organisations to link APEC and ASEAN priorities with the business community.