The BIMP-EAGA Business Councils (BEBC) of Brunei Darussalam, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan (Malaysia) and Palawan, Barmm, Zamboanga (Philippines) recently signed an agreement on the establishment of the BIMP-EAGA North-West Economic Corridor.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted in reference to the 14th BIMP-EAGA Leader’s Summit in October 2021 recommending that the private sector will lead the post-pandemic recovery in trade, tourism and investment (TTI) which was already discussed and agreed upon at the monthly meeting prior to formally establishing the new initiative.
In his speech at the virtual signing ceremony, Chairman BEBC and BEBC Brunei Darussalam said that the BEBC represents the private sector. Since its inception, the private sector has played a critical and important role in realising the vision of the cooperation.
“The goal of the MoU is to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of respective business councils in facilitating and promoting the development of TTI within the BIMP-EAGA (Intra-EAGA) and outside the EAGA (Extra-EAGA) towards the formation of the corridor,” said Pg Haji Haris Pg Hj Duraman.
He further said that the proposal to create the North-West Economic Corridor is meant to complement the existing economic corridors – West Borneo Economic Corridor (WBEC), Greater Sulu-Sulawesi Corridor (GSSC) and East Borneo Corridor.
WBEC is the oil and gas corridor covering Brunei, West Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak. GSSC is a maritime corridor that connects North Sulawesi, Sabah, Mindanao and Palawan.
Meanwhile, East Borneo Corridor is a link between Tanjong Selor in North Kalimantan and Sabah.
For the councils, the agreement aims to establish a general framework and intent for common interests in TTI among the BIMP-EAGA sub-regions in general, by facilitating free movement of people, goods, and services, making the best use of common infrastructure and natural resources, and leveraging economic complementarity.
“To achieve the goals of this MoU, the respective BEBCs will collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner while adhering to our respective laws, constitutions, regulations, and/or policies. It will serve as the foundation for an agreement among stakeholders to investigate the feasibility of regional cooperation,” he said.
The Chairman has also shared that BEBC Brunei is currently in the process of establishing its company Tasik EAGA Investment Holdings which will be operated by members of BEBC Brunei in efforts to achieve the goals of the MoU and will further lead any business activities that arise from BIMP-EAGA’s five pillars; Food Basket, Connectivity, Tourism, TIF and Environment.
Pg Harris is hopeful that with the council’s extensive experience and qualifications, they are committed to continue developing the realization of BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 and the goals of Brunei Vision 2035.
He added: “With the signing of the MoU, it acts as a hope to strengthen the cooperations between BIMP-EAGA Business Councils and it will serve as the foundation for an agreement among stakeholders to investigate the feasibility of regional cooperation.”
The MoU was signed by chairmen and representatives of BEBC Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan, Palawan, Barmm and Zamboanga.
The virtual event was attended by Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Hjh Tutuyaty Haji Abd Wahab, President of the Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Haji Hamid @ Sabli Haji Arsad, BIMP-EAGA Special Envoy to Sabah Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Pandikar Amin Haji Mulia.
Also present were Chairman of Mindanao Business Council Vicente T. Lao, Carl Moonson of BEBC Sabah, Chairman of BEBC Labuan Azhar Othman, Chairman of BEBC Sarawak Haji Osaha Haji Suhaili, PEDCO Chairman Emeritus and BEBC Palawan Country Director Cipriano DC Barroma and Country Director of BEBC Zamboanga Danica Jay Tan.
This article was first published on 26 March 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 186 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN