| Danial Norjidi |
MEMBERS of the Legislative Council (LegCo) conducted working visits to the Serasa Industrial Site, Pulau Muara Besar, JobCentre Brunei, and DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) yesterday.
The LegCo members’ delegation was headed by Penghulu of Mukim Berakas ‘B’ Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Ali bin Pengiran Maon.
According to a press release, the visits were part of the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry’s (MEMI’s) annual efforts to improve information sharing on the various initiatives under the MEMI with the LegCo members to enhance cooperation towards national development.
The visits will be followed by a dialogue session today, where the ministry’s visions and plans will be discussed.
At the Serasa Industrial Site, the LegCo members visited Western Foods and Packaging Sdn Bhd (WFP), which Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein introduced as an example of a foreign direct investment (FDI) company in the country’s food manufacturing sector.
WFP is a result of investment from Marsa Yag Snayi Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi from the Republic of Turkey. Its 1.9ha facility processes palm oil for the production of margarine and shortening, which are exported to various countries in the Asian market and the Middle East.
Currently, the plant projects an annual sales value of USD35 million, with a production capacity of 200 tonnes of margarine per day.
The products are used in various other downstream activities, including chocolate and pastry factories overseas. WFP’s workforce currently consists of 92 per cent locals, with 57 out of their 63 employees being Bruneians.
It was shared that this site highlights the potential and opportunities that successful FDI inflows would have in terms of technology transfer, training and local employment opportunities.
The petrochemical refinery complex under Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd at Pulau Muara Besar (an industrial site managed by DARe) is another example of an FDI collaborative project, with the shareholders being Damai Holdings Limited, Brunei Darussalam (30 per cent shareholding) and Zhejiang Hengyi Petrochemical Co Ltd (70 per cent shareholding).
The press release noted that commissioning of the petrochemical refinery is currently planned for 2019, and would represent the largest downstream oil and gas project in Brunei Darussalam to date.
During operation, the plant will produce various petrochemical products, including jet fuel, diesel, gasoline, LPG and chemicals with an expected capacity of 175,000 barrels per day. These products may be used further for plastics and textile manufacturing.
In his remarks, Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny indicated that the plant is expected to generate about 1,600 direct job opportunities, with plans for Bruneians to fill at least 50 per cent of these positions. The company has also committed to increasing the employment of locals by at least five per cent annually across its operations. Additionally, there are further opportunities for indirect employment and economic spin-offs arising from the provision of goods and services to support project operations.
The progress and implementation of the project is closely monitored through a whole-of-government approach and regulated by various government agencies, including the MEMI; the Ministry of Development; the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam; the Immigration and National Registration Department; the Royal Customs and Excise Department; security forces; as well as the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA).
The project will be subject to all the necessary approvals and standard requirements set by the relevant government agencies.
There are currently 26 industrial sites and complexes across the four districts managed by DARe.
Maximising value-added and export-oriented activities in these sites were highlighted as key contributors to future economic and industrial growth.
During the delegation’s visit to JobCentre Brunei, it was shared that the centre serves as a one-stop career centre in helping to improve the employability and marketability of jobseekers in the local job market. These include its online job portal, job matching services, career support, walk-in interview sessions, training and courses.
The press release also stated that jobseekers are continuously being encouraged to make full use of the centre’s services and participate in their programmes. JobCentre Brunei supports all sectors by bridging labour demand with supply.
This falls in line with the MEMI’s aspiration of facilitating the provision of an industry-ready workforce.
The delegation was also introduced to DARe’s initiatives to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including the iCentre – an incubation centre for start-ups – and the Business Support Centre (BSC), which facilitates easier navigation of government processes and approvals for MSMEs by housing 12 government agencies under one roof.
Also present during the visits by the LegCo delegation yesterday were Permanent Secretary (Energy) at the MEMI Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya; Permanent Secretary (Manpower) Haji Zolkiflee bin Haji Abdul Karim; Acting Permanent Secretary (Corporate and Industry) Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Energy and Power) Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra; Chief Executive Officer of DARe Javed Ahmad; as well as officers and staff from the ministry, the Department of Electrical Services, DARe, SHENA, and Damai Holdings Limited.