THE Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) would like to refer to two letters published in the Opinion Page of the Borneo Bulletin; ‘Create an economic charter to steer Brunei forward’ by Abdul Malik Omar on April 6, 2019 and ‘Linking economic charter to Vision 2035, IR 4.0, climate change’ by Teoh Boon Yen on April 24, 2019.
MoFE thanks the writers for their views and recommendations on the creation of an economic charter for Brunei Darussalam, in particular the one that outlines the strategic improvements and recommendations that could be made in charting the country’s next phase of economic growth throughout the next decade.
While Brunei faces economic risks and challenges such as high dependence on oil and gas, the pressing need to diversify, high level of local unemployment and a small local market base, the government is also mindful of the ongoing global themes which are gaining momentum, such as the rise of the fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0), climate change and sustainable policies.
The government also takes such factors into consideration when developing plans and strategies.
In developing Brunei Darussalam’s economy, the government is continuously guided by Vision 2035, of which one of its three goals include the achievement of an economy that is dynamic and sustainable for its future generations.
This ensures the economy continues to grow positively and provides the people in Brunei with quality employment as well as great economic opportunities.
Following this, as shared during the recent 15th Legislative Council meeting 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, this year’s national expenditure budget carried the theme ‘Investing in Our Future’ and is formulated towards fostering economic growth in the near-term and the long-term to ensure that the country’s economic resilience and fiscal stability can be enjoyed by the future generations.
In accordance, concerted efforts by various government ministries and agencies towards planning and implementing initiatives, programmes and activities that are capable of offering a pro-growth ecosystem and a diversified economy with a stronger private sector and less reliance on the government, is significantly important.
The implementation of such programmes and initiatives are aspired to drive national development by creating job opportunities in various fields and new industries, increasing business and economic activities and provide capable, skilled and marketable human capital.
In guiding this process, four main focusses have been laid out by the Ministry of Finance and Economy.
Firstly is through increasing investment activities, which aims to expand the growth of the non-oil and gas sector and open more job opportunities through efforts to stimulate and intensify activities in the identified priority sectors.
These priority sectors, which include downstream oil and gas; food; tourism; services and info-communications technology (ICT), are identified by taking into account the country’s existing competitive and comparative advantages in terms of infrastructure, natural resources and economic environment that has shown growth and has massive potential to be further developed.
One major initiative under this focus would be the attraction of quality foreign direct investments to further expedite the development of the private sector in the country, including the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The second focusses on facilitating businesses, to enable the private sector particularly MSMEs to be drivers of growth for the country by providing them with a conducive business ecosystem to grow and expand.
Meanwhile the third focus is on generating competent and employable human capital, in which the government will continue to prioritise investments towards competent and employable human capital who can contribute to the country’s economic growth.
This focus emphasises on the aspects of education development plans that can generate more experts, professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders of today and tomorrow.
And lastly, under the fourth focus, the government will continue to maintain the social welfare of the people in Brunei, including through the provision of basic services and amenities such as education, quality health services and others.
These focus areas as well as the focus areas of other government ministries and relevant agencies are all directed to achieve Brunei Vision 2035.
And to ensure the continuity and perseverance of the hard-work shown thus far, a ‘whole of nation’ effort will continue to consolidate all plans with the goal to enhance the quality of life and welfare of the people today, and also our future generations.
For information, the writers are welcome to contact our Human Resource Development and Corporate Affairs Division at 2383950 or visit our website: www.mofe.gov.bn.
– Ministry of Finance and Economy