As the post-pandemic economic recovery begins in the Sultanate, it is important to rethink and reconsider strategies to move forward in ensuring a resilient and sustainable economic recovery.
This was said by 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 during the Economy Week Symposium of the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2022 (Brunei MYCE 2022) at the International Convention Centre in Berakas yesterday.
The minister noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global and regional socio-economic order by disrupting global supply chains, constraining economic activity and restricting movement of people across borders.
“The road ahead will not be smooth and we will confront many challenges,” he said, adding that the world is facing another crisis – food inflation.
Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew urged that economic diversification efforts must continue guided by the Brunei Economic Blueprint “especially in charting our industrial roadmaps and masterplans”.
“However, our economic diversification strategies must be sustainable and we must always consider the environment to minimise any climate impact to ensure our biodiversity remains protected,” he said.
Five priority sectors – downstream oil and gas, food, information and communications technology, tourism and services – will be the focus to drive diversification efforts in the coming years.
“Increasing activities and investment in these sectors will boost the growth of our industries, increase exports and create more employment.”
The minister said more needs to be done to develop these sectors by improving regional and global connectivity, allowing businesses and people to expand external markets, while encouraging “micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to venture in regional and global value chains”.
He said, “Being a small economy dependent on imports for its consumption and inputs, we will continue to advocate for an open economy with a stable, transparent and mutually beneficial multilateral trading system with our partners.”
The minister affirmed that the government will continue to maintain a conducive business eco-system, invest in human capital, leverage on digital technology and explore further new avenues to streamline work and improve public sector delivery.
“One of the major concerns facing our post-pandemic economic recovery efforts is the potential de-globalisation of the world, with the world economy thought likely to split into separate blocs,” said the minister.
“Together with ASEAN member states, Brunei is very much dependent on cross-border investment for its economic growth and development. In fact, investment is an essential element of the overall economic integration efforts in ASEAN.
“These developments propel us, as an open economy that is fully dependent on trade, to leverage on our bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding, as well as free trade agreements (FTAs), such as RCEP and CPTPP.”
The minister shared that Brunei remains keen to continue strengthening its relations with regional and international partners, in mutually beneficial areas.
“Protectionism of trade and investment, will only worsen the uncertain situation that we are facing today,” he said.
The minister concluded his speech by calling for a whole-of-nation approach to manoeuvre towards a dynamic and sustainable economy.