Businesses should take advantage of such initiatives
Bandar Seri Begawan - With various reforms initiated by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's Government to improve business regulatory processes in the country, the local business community must be made aware of the improvements and take advantage of the changes implemented.
Referring to Brunei's latest ranking in the annual 'Ease of Doing Business Report' published by the World Bank and WC, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar cum Chairperson of the national EODB Steering Committee in a speech yesterday said, "Failure in understanding and attaining benefits from reforms and improvements made in the respective Government processes will affect the country's chances in improving its ranking in the upcoming FOUR reports, due to unreported process improvements to the World Bank while carrying out their annual surveys."
The minister however highlighted that improvement in ranking is not generally the Steering Committee's ultimate target.
"We must understand that a weak ranking report, which is globally accessible, might impede Brunei's prospects and reputation as a good investment destination amongst foreign investors," the minister said while officiating a workshop initiated by the EODB Steering Committee for the local business community at the Orchid Garden Hotel yesterday.
He also shared that 'Champion Groups' formed under the Steering Committee, led by permanent secretaries from various ministries are actively pursuing, structuring and implementing reforms and improvements on its respective internal processes.
"The improvement does not only point directly to EODB indicators, but also covers all processes, policies and legislation that are correlated in generating a more conducive business climate and in simplifying the process of starting and running a business here," Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya said.
Among the initiatives already implemented includes the procedures of a business set-up, process to obtain a construction permit, obtaining electricity supply and tax payment processes.
Brunei Darussalam has seen a marked improvement by moving up four places to 79th from the 83rd position the previous year out of 185 countries in the 10th edition of the annual report published by the World Bank and IFC, released late last year. This, the minister said is proof and results of the initiatives carried out.
However, the minister also stressed that the improvement in ranking does not suffice and has not reached the levels desired by the Government of His Majesty or as targeted by the Steering Committee. "It requires a continuously active and focused effort" he highlighted.
He also emphasised that although the EODB survey is only a tool in ensuring the general business climate, the relevant parties especially the 'Champion Groups of the Steering Committee' must be committed and aggressive in exploring and rectifying unspoken issues that can be assessed through the rankings in the EODB indicators.
With the workshop, the minister expressed hopes that the participants will be more aware of reforms and improvements made as well as contribute constructive remarks that can be utilised to plan the next steps for improvement. "The collaboration will pave the way in ensuring that reforms and improvements that will be implemented are more solid and effective, because I believe that the responsibility and ownership for the improvement in the business environment does not solely rely on the Government but also requires the commitment of all parties," the minister concluded.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin