Brunei, Oman establish $100M investment fund
By Liza Mohd in Muscat, Oman

Brunei Darussalam and the Sultanate of Oman yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Investment Fund, which was a giant step forward in strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries.

AFP quoting an Oman News Agency report said that it would be a US$100 million fund, which will be equally shared between the two states and based in Muscat.

The MoU provides for the setting up of a joint venture company known as 'Oman-Brunei Investment Co', for the purpose of making investments in infrastructure, tourism, health, telecommunications, utility and other sectors in Oman, Brunei and neighbouring markets.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who began a two-day State Visit to Oman Wednesday, left the country yesterday at the end of a fruitful visit.

The signing of the establishment of the Joint Investment Fund on behalf of His Majesty's government was done the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Mohammad bin Haji Daud, while Ahmed Adulnabi Macki, Minister Supervising the Ministry of Finance signed on behalf of Oman.

Ambassador of Oman to Brunei Sayyid Fakhri bin Mohammad bin Said Al-Said, who was present during the meeting and the signing in Al-Alam Palace, said the MoU would positively benefit both countries mutually as they jointly seek investment opportunities not only in the confines of Oman and Brunei, but also outside.

"This would also test the skills and expertise of both countries in seeking potential investment opportunities and enhance cooperation by helping each other towards utilising the nation's capital investment fund for the benefit of the nation's economy," said the ambassador in an interview with the Borneo Bulletin.

The execution of the MoU is at its initial stage where both parties are just starting to discuss on the best areas for investment and also allocation of funds.

As the economies of both countries thrive on oil and gas production and export, the Joint Investment Fund will fulfil the countries' aspirations to diversify their economies away from oil and gas, the ambassador added.

Apart from that, both countries are also focusing on enhancing cooperation in the area of education and also to encourage Brunei businesses to invest in Oman and vice versa.

The ambassador said His Majesty's two-day State Visit to the Sultanate reflects the progressive diplomatic ties since the opening of the Oman's Embassy in Brunei in 1986.

Brunei and Oman have entered various cooperative agreements and MoUs since they forged diplomatic relations in 1984, which include the MoU on Cooperation in Islamic Affairs in 1996, on Trade and Commerce in 1997, an Agreement on Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Foreign Investment in 1998, visa exemption agreement for stays not longer than 30 days in 2001, MoU to increase education ties in 2007, Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation in 2008 and lastly, an MoU to improve cooperation in health care in February 2009.

In the years to come, both Sultanates will seek coopera-tion in a wider range of issues, noted the ambassador and expressed his appreciation for His Majesty's State Visit. - Borneo Bulletin (17th Apr 2009)