Brunei Has To Be Aggressive In Developing SMEs

By Sonia K

Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei ABAC
members Fauziah Dato Talib, Hj Salleh Bostaman and Stephen Ong
yesterday shared with the Weekend Bulletin a little bit about what
was discussed during the ABAC meeting and how Brunei should react to

improve on it and try to
focus on how to accelerate and not wait for the next two
years to see some results.

“We need to see results
in the next three to six months to see how we can
actually support our SMEs,” she said.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ong
said that in a period where the world is going through a
slow down, possibly a recession in some countries, it is
very important for governments to be active in taking
fiscal stimulus measures and embarking on capital
expenditure programmes like in China and Singapore.

“In Brunei it is good
that through BEDB and other government agencies, it is
also embarking on capital projects like housing and
infrastructure and that can only help stimulate
opportunities for jobs,” he said.

He then spoke about how
he thinks job creation is very important, especially
when the world is going through a slow down.

He said, ABAC Brunei
recommends that in order to stimulate foreign
investments coming into the country or even create
opportunities for SMEs, government procedures for
business permits or other procedures that need approvals
should be made as simple and transparent as possible.

“Because time is money
and for small businesses it is critical,” he shared.

During the interview,
Hj Salleh Bostaman advised Brunei not to create new

He said this is because
there have been numerous studies conducted by the
government on how we can reposition the Sultanate by
taking advantage of Brunei’s small size, economic and
political stability as well as the diversity that Brunei

“Through the report,
the government has embarked on this business clusters
and what we are going to do is just extend the value
chain of oil and gas,” Salleh added.

This means not just
selling it as crude but refinement, which is why Brunei
has decided to embark on methanol.

“What we are looking at
is how we can take advantage of our biodiversity, like
our abundant jungle. We are not going to cut all our
jungle, instead we are going to venture into eco-tourism
with it,” he added.

According to Salleh,
Brunei is looking into agriculture and its quite
extensive commercial farming. Besides that, the
Sultanate is also looking at Brunei branding – Malay
Islamic Monarchy (MIB) – and how to take advantage of
the `halal’ branding.

“There is a several
hundred billion dollar industry that could be a spin off
from the halal brand… not just being `halal’ food but
the whole chain of halal packaging, transportation,
logistics and financing,” he told the Bulletin.

Another cluster Salleh
mentioned was transshipment.

“We are at the centre

He then posed the
question, “What can we do without competing with the
established ports of Singapore or Kelang?”

Brunei could supplement
to be a transshipment area and that is the business
cluster that Brunei should be pursuing, he said.

Salleh also took the
opportunity to remind SMEs that they have to be

“We are a very small
domestic market and we cannot expand within Brunei
alone, we have to go outside,” he added.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin