Right policies needed to mitigate financial risks
By Azlan Othman

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Chairman of Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) in his sabda urged the AMBD management to constantly monitor the ever-changing global financial and economic situation.

Observations and experiences from recent financial crisis could serve as useful lessons and provide a benchmark in efforts towards maintaining a sound and sustainable economy. His Royal Highness said this when chairing the first meeting of AMBD Board of Directors yesterday at AMBD head office at the Ministry of Finance building.

His Royal Highness also said that the establishment of AMBD signified another milestone in the efforts of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in taking progressive action towards ensuring a sound and stable financial system that is sustainable, as well as to enhance the financial services sector.

HRH also said given the dynamic nature of the financial sector, AMBD must constantly upgrade and strengthen its capacities in all aspects especially its human resource, IT and legal infrastructure.

In this regard, His Royal Highness urged board members and the AMBD management to be proactive in expanding their networks especially with counterparts such as central banks, monetary authorities, as well as regional and international financial institutions.

HRH also emphasised that the main role of the AMBD management is to assist the board in making informed decisions, especially in the formulation of appropriate monetary and financial policies.

In this regard, financial and economic data must always be of quality, timely and be up-to-date to serve as reliable references and guidance.

"Although the recent global financial crisis has had a limited impact on Brunei Darussalam, potential risks emanating from external shocks remain. Hence, we must continue to be vigilant so as to ensure that appropriate strategies and policies are in place to mitigate such risks."

HRH added, as a corporate body that acts as Central Bank of Brunei Darussalam, AMBD certainly would play a very crucial role especially in ensuring the stability of the financial and monetary system of this country is upheld.

"In the context of Brunei Vision 2035, every policy and complimentary step should be seen as a catalyst towards the economic policy and to maintain the country's financial and monetary stability. Such challenges should be handled systematically and properly.

"As highlighted by my father in his New Year titah which is to continue steps towards realising the vision to turn Brunei as one of the Islamic financial centres on par with renowned Islamic financial centres in the world, this is the way forward which should be upheld at all levels," said HRH.

Earlier, HRH officiated the establishment of AMBD. The Crown Prince was greeted upon arrival by Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Suyoi, Minister of Development, in his capacity as the Deputy Chairman of the AMBD Board of Directors; Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office; Dato Paduka Awg Hj Ali bin Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and other board members.

The event was also attended by Dato Paduka Awg Hj Bahrin bin Abdullah, Deputy Finance Minister; Permanent Secretary and the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Heads of Departments and Divisions under the Ministry of Finance, as well as officers and staff of AMBD.

After officiating the establishment of AMBD and its official logo, HRH signed a plaque and received a pesambah from the Managing Director of AMBD, Awg Hj Mohd Rosli bin Hj Sabtu. This was followed by the royal visit to the different departments under AMBD at its head office, during which HRH also signed the 'Buku Keberangkatan'. HRH later posed for a group photo with members of the AMBD board.

The event was blessed with the recital of surah al-fatihah and doa selamat by Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Hamid bin Bakal.

In his 64th birthday titah on July 15, 2010, His Majesty announced the establishment of AMBD on January 1, 2011. And in his New Year 2011 titah, the monarch said AMBD would ensure that the monetary and financial sectors in this country remain stable and sound. This includes continuing the interchangeable agreement between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore currency, which is viewed as bringing many benefits for both countries. - Borneo Bulletin (10th January 2011)