His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday urged the public to take the wisdom and lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic to help diversify the economy and create job opportunities for locals.
His Majesty, in the New Year 2023 titah, reflected on the three years since Brunei was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the calamity has impacted life in general, it has also given birth to wisdom that opens opportunities for more independence, said His Majesty.
The monarch added, “It has strengthened key areas such as food security, education, finance and health”.
Wisdom gleaned from the experiences of the pandemic has increased the capacity of digital services, allowing all parties to enjoy greater efficiency in the field of work and virtual learning, said His Majesty.
“It will be even more meaningful if this experience can instil the spirit of hard work to diversify the economy and join hands to create job opportunities for locals.“
The monarch believes that with such enthusiasm, it will spark great interest among the youth to venture into new fields, such as big data, cloud computing, green energy and environmentally-friendly technology.
Towards achieving the goals of Brunei Vision 2035, His Majesty noted the government’s implementation of the Economic Blueprint – and the devising of social and manpower frameworks, and hopes that the strategies detailed in the blueprints will receive solid support from the various stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the monarch noted that economic challenges faced by Brunei, including inflation driven by geopolitical tensions at the global level, have exposed the Sultanate to the bitter challenge of “imported inflation” and the increase in prices of goods.
“The inflation rate has increased from 3.8 per cent to 4.7 per cent, which is the highest rate ever recorded.”
His Majesty said the government will strive to minimise the effects of inflation by ensuring that the supply of food is stable and sufficient.
His Majesty also noted that the agreements and memoranda of understanding with international organisations and institutions are expected to help the development and recognition of professionalism of human resources. This includes agreements with the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
His Majesty expressed deepest appreciation to civil servants, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, the Royal Brunei Police Force, other uniformed forces, frontliners and volunteers, as well as those who serve in the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their commitment and hard work in 2022.
“I would also like to express the same appreciation and gratitude to all walks of life who have always cooperated in providing strong support to the government, whether in dealing with disease outbreaks or in supporting the national development agenda.”
His Majesty also expressed appreciation to friendly countries and international organisations for their cooperation and assistance.
“We will continue to nurture and strengthen relationships and cooperation with friendly countries, especially in dealing with regional and international issues and challenges post-covid-19 in economic recovery such as digital commerce, empowerment, climate change and general health.”
His Majesty concluded, “Happy New Year 2023 to all the people and residents of this country, including those who are abroad. May Allah the Almighty bestow His blessings in the form of firmness of faith, health, safety and prosperity for all.”