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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    27  July  2016  

Brunei’s economic reforms bearing fruit

BRUNEI’s economic reforms are beginning to yield results, according to analysis from the Oxford Business Group (OBG), as the sultanate is pushing towards developing its various non-oil sectors in the wake of global low oil prices.

Citing Brunei’s positive outlook from the recently published OBG’s The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2016, OBG’s Managing Editor for Asia, Paulius Kuncinas, in a statement yesterday said that efforts to enhance Brunei’s business climate were instrumental in helping the country move up the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) rankings this year and will support the drive to attract new foreign direct investments (FDIs) in targeted industries.

“While the challenges cannot be underestimated, we expect a sharpened focus on areas such as manufacturing to provide firm foundations for non-oil growth,” said Kuncinas.

Meanwhile, Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief, said that while Brunei had felt the weight of declining revenues due to low oil prices, its efforts to broaden the economy were taking root.

“The sultanate has shown its commitment to boosting non-energy growth by announcing plans to invest in key areas such as education, infrastructure, and research and development,” said the head of the global publishing, research and consultancy firm.

“The move to elevate tourism to ministerial status is yet another sign that Brunei’s bid to look beyond oil for growth, in line with its long-term development roadmap, Wawasan Brunei 2035, is gathering pace,” added Jeffreys.

The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2016 marks the culmination of more than six months of field research, said OBG.

The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments and is available in print and online.

The publication also highlighted the sultanate’s Halal and aquaculture industries, both of which are seen as ripe for expansion, said OBG.

Also available in the report are detailed coverage of the developments under way in the country’s tourism sector, as the government moves to tap niche areas, including the eco and Islamic segments, and boost arrivals from promising markets, such as China.

OBG’s report considers the key role that the country’s pipeline of projects is expected to play in supporting a more diversified economy, especially the major Temburong Bridge initiative, which will connect the two sides of the country, and a planned manufacturing hub.

The report also explores the measures that the country is taking to enhance its business environment in a bid to boost foreign investment.

The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2016 contains an interview with Dato Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors.

It also features a wide range of contributions from other leading representatives, including the Managing Director of the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam Yusof bin Haji Abdul Rahman, the Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh and the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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