Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Brunei Town

Work towards Vision 2035

Lyna Mohamad

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 called for strategies to help the Sultanate recover following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

“These strategies are necessary as we are getting closer to the Brunei Vision 2035. The country must work on its goals without delay, including putting emphasis on economic progress,” said His Majesty during a titah in conjunction with His Majesty’s 76th birthday celebration yesterday.

The monarch noted that the government’s move to diversify the country’s economy is beginning to yield positive results, with the non-oil and gas sector growing at an average rate of four per cent per annum in the past five years.

“The downstream sector, which is one of the economic key areas, has shown a significant increase, with the gross domestic product jumping from BND200 million in 2019 to BND1.6 billion in 2021,” His Majesty said.

“Exports in the non-oil and gas sector amounted to BND7.8 billion last year, which were higher than the oil and gas sector at BND6.4 billion,” His Majesty said.

Taking into account the growth potential of other economic sectors, such as food, fertiliser and chemical, the monarch said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a 1.8-per-cent growth for the Sultanate, the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) with a 4.1-per-cent forecast and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with 4.2 per cent.

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 delivers a titah, as Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam looks on. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

His Majesty noted that several foreign direct investment (FDI) companies have begun operations this year, helping to provide employment opportunities for the locals, such as the Brunei Fertilizer Industries Sdn Bhd, which has been producing urea for exports since February 2022.

“FDIs will also generate opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” the monarch said, and calling for locally-owned MSMEs to seize these opportunities.

Touching on the study conducted by the Ministry of Finance and Economy in collaboration with the Employees Trust Fund (TAP) on a new retirement scheme to replace the current one, His Majesty cited the titah delivered in the monarch’s 75th birthday celebration last year, during which His Majesty took note that TAP had started to share the structure of its National Retirement Scheme (SPK).

His Majesty also said Brunei cannot rely solely on importing food from abroad to ensure security, especially with geopolitical tensions and other disruptions affecting the global supply chain.

However, the monarch also acknowledged that the country’s food sector is heading in the right direction with a growth of 11.4 per cent in 2019.

“In terms of exports in 2021, the volume was valued at BND52 million compared to only BND8 million five years ago,” the monarch added.

His Majesty also said international relations and multilateral cooperation with regional and other dialogue partners will continue to be fostered to ensure “the goal of enjoying peace and security together” can be maintained.

The monarch concluded the titah by saying: “I would like to extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to the people and residents, civil servants, security forces and those serving the private sector for their contributions and support for the Brunei Government, as well as those involved in the birthday celebration committee for making the occasion a success.”