Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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IMF lauds Brunei economic recovery effort

Azlan Othman

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Directors commended the Sultanate’s authorities for adopting policies to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for the impressive vaccination rollout.

The directors observed that a strong economic recovery is underway, with further lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, investments in large petrochemicals projects, and higher oil and gas prices.

Noting the downside risks to the outlook, the directors stressed the need to maintain supportive policies until a private-sector-led recovery is on a firm path.

This was highlighted when the IMF’s Executive Board concluded the 2022 Article IV consultation with Brunei Darussalam this week.

The directors stressed the need for continuous reform efforts to promote economic transformation, foster resilience, and accelerate green, digital, and inclusive growth.

A view of Bandar Seri Begawan. PHOTO: ABDUL QAWI BIN HAJI ZULKIPLI

The directors underscored the need to maintain targetted fiscal support for vulnerable businesses and households in the near term, while stepping up reforms to improve fiscal sustainability and intergenerational equity in the longer term.

Meanwhile, the directors welcomed several initiatives to improve the efficiency of public spending, streamline untargetted subsidy and social spending, rationalise public employment and mobilise revenue.

They also noted that the full implementation of the medium-term fiscal framework would help stabilise public finances.

They also noted that monetary liquidity operations should be mindful of inflation risks.

They welcomed the resilience of the banking sector and authorities’ recent efforts to strengthen the anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) regulatory and supervisory framework as well as upgrade stress testing for improved financial sector stability.

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