Government’s efforts to diversify the country’s economy have started to show fruition said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah on Friday, noting the improvement of the non-oil and gas sector over the last five years.
“The sector has increased on an average rate of 4 per cent per year. Take for example, the downstream sector, one of the country’s main economies. It has been showing significant progress with an increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) value from $200 million in 2019 to $1.6 billion in 2021,” said the monarch.
The sultan also shared that export value for the non-oil sector recorded an overall value of $7.8 billion in 2021, more than the export value of the oil and gas sector sitting at only $6.4 billion.
His Majesty highlighted that the country needs to draw several strategies for the country’s economic recovery, despite the pandemic.
“This is necessary as we are nearing the Vision 2035 where the country needs to go forward with its mission without any delay including the emphasis on economic development,” said the monarch.
His Majesty further said that for 2022, international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have expected Brunei’s economy to grow at rates 1.8 per cent, 4.1 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively.
These positive expectations, added the sultan, are considering the potential growth of some of the country’s economic sectors including food, fertiliser and chemical.
The monarch also noted that several Foreign Direct Investment companies (FDIs) have begun their operations in the country this year, allowing employment opportunities for the locals such as the Brunei Fertilizer Industries which have been exporting urea since February this year.
“Additionally, FDIs will also provide opportunities to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country and I am hopeful that MSMEs that are owned and operated by locals will grab this chance,” added the sultan.
On food security, His Majesty also noted that geopolitical tension and disruption of the supply chain have affected the global food supply for the past few months.
“This shows that we cannot always rely on imports. However, Alhamdulilah, data has shown that from 2019, the country’s food sector has grown on an average of 11.4 per cent,” said the sultan.
Meanwhile, an export value of $52 million was recorded in 2021 compared to only $8 million five years ago.
Moreover, the sultan also touched on the Ministry of Finance and Economy’s research with the Employee Trust Fund (TAP) Board on a pension scheme to replace the existing TAP programme as mentioned in His Majesty’s titah last year.
“Alhamdulilah, I have acknowledged that TAP has shared the structure of the National Pension Scheme (SPK),” said the sultan.
For international affairs, cooperation and multi-lateral relations with regional counterparts and dialogue partners, the monarch is keen that it will continue to grow and prosper.
“This is important to achieve the goal of mutual peace and security,” said His Majesty the Sultan.
The monarch concluded the titah by thanking all citizens and residents of Brunei, civil servants, security forces and the private sector including those working outside of the country for their support and contributions to His Majesty’s government.
This article was first published on 16 July 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 202 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN