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Brunei must be ready for challenges, opportunities

Adib Noor

The COVID-19 pandemic proved as a reminder for nations to be resilient in formulating key strategies to the third goal of Brunei Vision 2035 – towards a dynamic and sustainable economy.

This was stated by Permanent Secretary (Vision, Finance and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Pengiran Hajah Siti Nirmala binti Pengiran Haji Mohammad during the Economy Week Symposium on ‘Reassessing and Recalibrating Policy Approaches for GDP Growth’ as part of the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2022 (Brunei MYCE 2022) yesterday.

“Reflecting on the last three years, we have witnessed how the pandemic caused economic disruptions worldwide including Brunei Darussalam, causing economic slowdown,” she said, adding that the recovery phase is highly dependent on changes in business dynamics, development of digital technologies and connectivity.

“Brunei must position itself better for any challenges or opportunities ahead.”

The symposium saw five panellists in discussion, including Pengiran Hajah Siti Nirmala; Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab; Brunei Darussalam Central Bank Managing Director Hajah Rokiah binti Haji Badar; and Chief Executive of Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam Ir Haji Jailani bin Haji Buntar.

The permanent secretary at the MPRT shared that Brunei Darussalam has shown improvements over the years in achieving positive gross domestic product (GDP) despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“In the past three years, our performance in agriculture and fisheries has shown a positive growth with agriculture showing an increase in GDP by 20 per cent, while fisheries show an increase close to 40 per cent in 2020 and 2021,” she said.

The symposium in proress. PHOTO: ADIB NOOR

In terms of technological advancements, Ir Haji Jailani said the soon-to-be-introduced 5G network will positively affect the Sultanate’s economy.

“The multifunctional and diversification of the use of 5G will unlock a branch of opportunities such as the optimisation of service delivery, decision-making and end user experience.

“Apart from the direct contribution to the increase of GDP, 5G will help fuel the future growth of several industries and society at large,” the chief executive said.

Meanwhile, the panel also touched on the six aspirations of the digital framework. The first is the establishment of productive and vibrant businesses, which would allow healthy competition, growth and sustainability by exploring new markets and opportunities.

The second aspiration is to develop skilled, adaptive and innovative individuals that are marketable to the current economic needs with the capacity to create new products and services.

The third is to establish an open and globally connected economy able to penetrate external markets and attract foreign businesses, while the fourth aspiration aims to create a sustainable environment.

The fifth aspiration is to have a high quality and competitive economic infrastructure to support and grow businesses, while the final aspiration aims to establish good governance and public service excellence to ensure a conducive business environment.