Govt to make it easy to do business in Brunei
By Azlan Othman

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, said the government through cooperation between relevant ministries and departments is working to better facilitate the application process including the establishment of an online business licence system.

In delivering his sabda at the 15th Civil Service Day yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, His Royal Highness said that achieving this initiative will help raise the country's status to a higher level in the facilitation of business or in terms of "Ease of Doing Business" and thereby enhance the confidence of investors to invest in this country. The World Bank recently put Brunei in the 88th place out of the 108 economies worldwide in the "Ease of Doing Business".

His Royal Highness also touched on challenges that lie ahead. "In addition to the various plans that we wish to achieve, we must also be prepared to answer various challenges that will constantly test our capabilities.

"For instance during this year alone, the world has been confronted by challenges arising from the financial crisis, natural disasters, infectious diseases and the global food shortage crisis," HRH said.

"Consequently, we must be ready to re-evaluate the steps taken to bring about change and improvement. Members of the civil service must be dynamic and much more forward-looking. This is because the challenges that we face intermittently are not static and often occur unexpectedly thereby stretching our capabilities in handling them.

"Amongst the basic and vital services provided by the government for the continual well being of the people are to ensure the supply of clean water and the supply of electricity.

"We are aware that among the challenges that jeorpadise such services and supplies are weather conditions that can cause continuous rains, flooding and impacts of soil erosion. The demand of electricity also peaks during certain periods and this can lead to disruption of supply. Such disruption causes not only inconvenience but also may result in losses to business operators," HRH said.

HRH the Crown Prince called for preparations to be comprehensive and able to anticipate all possible scenarios and not only acted upon after the disclosure of information by certain entities.

HRH also said with the aim of securing our future, the government will not cease in formulating and revising our socio-economic policy as a basis for our nation's development agenda. In order to fulfil the requirements of our citizens, we have already begun to formulate plans for the long-term development of our nation through the national vision 2035.

The vision emphasises three main objectives - to improve the quality of life of the citizens and residents, to maximise the use of resources in developing the country's economy and to develop non-oil and gas industries.

HRH also said that we do not lack ideas in formulating clear and defined policies that enable the machinery of government to function rapidly and progressively.

Nonetheless, in order to realise these policies we require a civil service community that is dedicated and efficient. Without this, the policy will merely remain as just policy.

"In achieving this vision, we must be ready to face various political, social and economic trials and tribulations and pressure from the outside world. Even at this time, we are feeling the effects of the reality of a globalised world and the increasingly challenging competition for economic and energy resources," HRH added.

Hrh the Crown Prince later presented prizes to the winners of the Civil Service Excellence Awards in the Services Delivery and Finance categories.

In the Services Delivery category, the gold medal went to the Water Services Department with the topic "Upgrading Customers Services through Change Management". The department won $8,000 cash prize.

The silver and $5,000 cash prize went to Department of Electrical Services and bronze to Department of Administration and Finance of the Ministry of Health that came with $3,000 cash prize. Trophies and certificates of appreciation were also presented.

In the finance category, there was no gold winner. The silver medal went to Water Services Department and bronze to Treasury Department of the Ministry of Finance.

HRH also presented service records to 32 senior government officers. This year's Civil Service Day carries the theme "Towards Our National Vision - Excellence and Prosperity".

The celebration also saw a Civil Service Day exhibition based on the theme "Food Security". The exhibition is the collaborative effort of the Agriculture Department and related agencies involved in ensuring food production and supply for Brunei's population. - Borneo Bulletin (12th Nov 2008)