Monarch calls for increased efforts to meet Brunei Vision 2035
Azlan Othman

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called on all parties, be it the government or the private sector, to step up efforts for the country to be able to attain the targeted 5 – 6 per cent economic growth annually, and achieve the Brunei Vision 2035 of being the top 10 places globally in terms of per capita income.

In the monarch’s 68th birthday titah delivered at the Throne Room of the Istana Nurul Iman, His Majesty noted that in terms of the economy, the nation’s objective is to become an economic powerhouse that is dynamic and able to occupy the top 10 places globally in terms of per capita income.

“It means we are required to enhance the country’s revenue up to $80 billion by 2035, compared to only $20 billion at present.

“This also refers to the economy of the nation being able to grow around 5 – 6 per cent annually. I hope that all parties will step up their respective efforts to attain such target,” the monarch said.

Focus is currently being placed on diversifying and enhancing economic growth, including facilitating the entry of foreign investment in various sectors, promoting private sector, empowering small and medium sized entreprenuers, enhancing productivity and establishing pro-business climate.

“In the effort to diversify the economy, I am glad to acknowledge that initiatives to lure quality foreign direct investment into this country have shown some signs of positive achievement. In the downstream oil and gas sector, Pulau Muara Besar has now been developed for the provision of the construction of integrated oil refinery project and other related industries that promise many job opportunities,” His Majesty said.

Meanwhile, a world-class pharmaceutical manufacturing plant has been set up and is now in operation. Additionally, a renowned international company in simulation training has built a Multi Purpose Training Centre in Brunei Darussalam as its main training centre in this region. It is also already in operation.

A Bio Innovation Centre (BIC) on a 500-hectare site to attract investment in research and development (R&D), manufacturing and commercial, is another sector that has the potential to strengthen the economy and create vast job opportunities.

The preliminary Employer and Employee Census 2013 showed that out of 140,000 workforce in 10,000 active companies, 65 per cent were foreign workers.

Hence, in this context, taking into account the existing unemployment rate, it is appropriate for us to have a policy of balanced employment fulfillment.

“Praise to Allah the Almighty, to date, we have met part of the target to reduce unemployment. In the oil and gas industry, for instance, the target of providing 3,000 job opportunities to locals by 2014 has almost been reached.

“We should not overlook job opportunities in the non-oil and gas sector. Towards this, my government has introduced a new policy to be implemented in stages,” His Majesty said.

In general, this policy aims to balance between the recruitment of local and foreign workers, through certain control procedures. - Borneo Bulletin (15 August 2014)