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Positive growth, peace achieved despite COVID threats, says minister

Rokiah Mahmud

Despite facing the impact of COVID-19, the Sultanate led by the wise leadership of 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 is still able to achieve positive economic growth and implement initiatives in maintaining peace and the people’s well-being.

This was underlined by Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong during his adjournment remarks at the 18th Legislative Council (LegCo) Meeting session yesterday.

The minister said the observations, views, advice and constructive thoughts focussed on recommendations for improvement as well as reforms have been deliberated by LegCo members.

In this direction, he said, the dialogue session between the ministries and LegCo members provided a positive impact as it enabled the ministries to share information on roles, programmes and efforts that will, currently and have been planned and implemented.

“Alhamdulillah, during this LegCo session, LegCo members delivered their views and suggestions that focussed on fiscal year 2022-2023 including public well-being, ensuring food security, supporting and assisting the private sector to be more resilient; and enhancing human resource competency towards work and be future-ready.”

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar added that during the deliberation session, LegCo members discussed matters pertaining to public well-being such as water, electrical, transportation, info-communication technology (ICT) and housing services.

“The discussion also touched on the empowerment of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), enhancing the One Village One Product (1K1P) initiative, and shining light on education and the role of higher learning institutions in the country’s development.

Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

“LegCo members suggested strengthening efforts on food security, youth empowerment, providing opportunity for youth to increase their knowledge and skills, involving youth in the country’s development by participating in various business sectors and enterprises not only as employees, but as entrepreneurs,” the minister said.

In addition, the minister said, COVID-19 has changed the global landscape, including the Sultanate.

“We have lived in new norms for almost two years. As such, COVID-19 requires the government to make changes in the aspect of initiatives, policy and legislation. The changes implemented aim to weather challenges due to the coronavirus in line with post-pandemic needs.”

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar expressed appreciation for His Majesty on matters related to the Employees Trust Fund (TAP), the studies completed by the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) in collaboration with TAP and the implementation in 2023.

The minister added that in the titah, His Majesty emphasised on food security following the outbreak of COVID-19, which affected the supply of food items while causing prices to increase. As such, several measures were implemented to improve production in several sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and livestock.

“Insya Allah, the government will continue to ensure that food supply in the country is guaranteed, including the vision for self-sufficiency and reduced dependency on imports.
“We have seen an increase in communication and technological innovation, especially in the aspect of education, management, safety and enterprises. This is in line with the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 with its main policy aimed at shaping Brunei Darussalam as a Smart Nation while encouraging improvement in the country’s socio-economy through digital transformation.

“To date, we have seen positive growth in several sectors, such as agriculture, business, transportation, finance, communication and health services. These sectors have diversified their service delivery procedures to be more innovative and creative. They have turned COVID-19 challenges into opportunities to meet demands,” said the minister.

Given the current condition of the world economy, the government will commit to improving the country’s economy by continuously attracting foreign investors to the Sultanate and provide a conducive ecosystem to make Brunei an attractive foreign direct investment (FDI) destination.

COVID-19 has also brought to light the people who are readily offering their assistance. With the participation from youth and their involvement in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the minister expressed gratitude and called for the youth to be supported, so they can set an example for future generations.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar also expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Health for its efforts along with frontliners and volunteers; for their cooperation and support; and other ministries, the private sector and public for coming together to support governmental efforts.

The minister noted that plans shared during the session showed inspiration and aspiration in realising Brunei Vision 2035. However, the plans need to be realistic and achievable to ensure that the plans and targets to be implemented in the short, medium and long term can be executed successfully by emphasising on priorities and cost effectiveness.


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