Crown Prince calls for more Bruneian products, entrepreneurs
By Syafiq Affendy

The $3.6-billion worth of commodity imports recorded in 2008 should serve as an eye- opener and increase the patriotism of Bruneians to strive towards manufacturing and production of local products.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, made the sabda yesterday at the 19th Convocation of the Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas. He said the time has come to produce or invent something of value with supporting policies to encourage increasing local production of products and services.

The sabda was delivered in honouring the 309 Higher National Diploma graduates of ITB, a success that according to His Royal Highness would lead to the local job market to be further enhanced with the increase of skilled human resource assets.

"They are hoped to be able to generate development and expand viable alternative enterprises, in line with the Brunei Vision 2035, which is to produce a nation with knowledgeable and skilled citizens with a high standard of living and a dynamic and resilient economy," stated His Royal Highness.

His Royal Highness also mentioned His Majesty's Government's efforts in stressing the importance of the private sectors, whose role as the generator of economic development, should continue to increase economic activities in the country, in order to provide more job opportunities, as well as highlight the roles of the private sectors in increasing productivity and the nation's prosperity.

"In light of this, I hope that more graduates from ITB come forward and become involved in entrepreneurship, especially as a technopreneur to produce products and services based on technology. This field offers a vast area yet to be explored by graduates," added HRH.

Towards realising the manufacturing of local products or services, added HRH, its continued effort is important in educating the nation's people solely to ensure that the nation possesses skilled and semi-skilled human resource that are able to support the national development agenda in various fields, including those relating to the development in the domestic economy.

"It is the responsibility of tertiary education institutions in the country to intensify research activities and build capacity towards diversifying the production of materials and local products, which ranges from construction materials to processed food products," remarked HRH, adding: "The institute should also intensify the research of products with potential to be further developed by local entrepreneurs as these efforts would be able to lessen our dependency on imports."

ITB's upgrade into a university, according to HRH, would surely give the institution more challenge to its roles and responsibilities.

"Changes in attitude and enhancing efforts among the academic community especially, are critical success factors towards ensuring that ITB develops rapidly, and be able to compete with those abroad, including leading universities," HRH pointed out. - Borneo Bulletin (30th May 2010)