Outbreak puts service sector in doldrums

Azlan Othman

Many industries have been affected by the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the Sultanate. Based on the contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth, there was a slight increase of 1.3 per cent in agriculture industry compared to 63 per cent in oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry is also affected by restrictions, which affects the offshore operation.

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 said this at the press conference.

The service sector, such as small and medium-sized entreprenures (SMEs), that generates jobs for the public, contributed 36 per cent to the GDP.

“Many in the service sector are working from home during the outbreak, thus affecting their businesses. Many shops have also been closed not because of a lack of business, but due to a shortage of workers.

“We hope that with Operasi Pulih in place, coupled with the increase in vaccination among the public, this will help open up the economy and loosen restrictions. Once the outbreak is over, people can return to work and we can improve the economy,” he said.

There are over 2,000 vacancies in the services industry available at the JobCentre Brunei, he added.

“When the country opens up its economy, foreign investors will start to come back, creating spin-off activities for SMEs.

“Once foreign direct investment (FDI) investors come, they will need services and this will increase economic activities, among others, through public-private partnership (PPP),” the minister said.