Bandar Seri Begawan - Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Suyoi bin Hj Osman said the availability of land is encumbered by many constraints and hence efficient use and strategic optimisation of land is crucial for sustainable future development.
He also emphasised that encouraging private sector growth and facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI) are key components for economic diversification to achieve the goals of Wawasan Brunei 2035 and the optimisation of land use and its productivity, in addition to good governance and strategic infrastructural planning and implementation, are also important factors in attracting foreign direct investment.
He said this at the national conference that revealed some key findings of the research project on "Land Optimisation Strategy for Industrial and Commercial Growth in Brunei Darussalam" yesterday.
The Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) held the conference, which also marked the successful completion of the 18-month project commissioned by CSPS, with the Ministry of Development as the main stakeholder, to SGS Economics & Planning from Australia to provide a comprehensive study of the existing landscape of the country with special focus on industrial and commercial growth, identify and quantify potential land zones appropriate for industrial and commercial activities and provide a comprehensive strategy to meet industrial and commercial development needs for a diversified Brunei economy in the future.
Also in attendance were Dato Paduka Awg Hj Ali bin Hj Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Permanent Secretaries and senior executives from the public and private sectors.
The event commenced with welcoming remarks from CSPS Executive Director, Dato Paduka.Dr Hj Ismail bin Hj Duraman. He said the conference would highlight the findings to be presented by the consultants from Australia.
The study, despite facing many challenges, came out with important findings, giving new information about land availability and also providing insightful independent recommendations on the use of land for future economic activities. The study is also an eye opener for the country as there is an ample amount of land for further development in future without encroaching land reserved for the Heart of Bomeb.
In the first presentation delivered by Mr Roger Gibbins from SGS Economics & Planning, industry clusters that will drive Brunei's economicgrowth and long-term competitiveness were identified to be petrochemicals & energy; transport, communications & logistics; advanced business & financial services; biodiversity, food & pharmaceuticals; tourism; education; and creative industries.
Based on Wawasan Brunei 2035 growth target of six per cent per annum, it is estimated that around 225,000 additional jobs are required - 123,000 in the focal clusters and 102,000 in other sectors. This translates to 1,132,000 square metres of commercial floor space and 69.6 square kilometres of industrial site area. There is therefore sufficient land to meet our Wawasan growth targets and long-term development goals without the need to encroach on protected forest areas such as the Heart of Borneo.
The study has also identified several land zones along the coastal corridor suitable for industrial and commercial use - Telisai Energy Park for petrochemicals and heavy industries; Panaga for general industries, warehouses and assembly; Anduki for logistics and warehouse uses; Keriam for light manufacturing, processing and distribution; Brunei Creative & Knowledge Industries Precinct located around the Agrotechnology Park and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) for knowledge-based industries, research and education, high tech business and creative industries; Brunei Aerotech Precinct located around the Brunei International Airport, for business, retail, leisure and entertainment services, as well as storage and 'distribution network facilities and Pulau Muara Besar for petrochemicals and logistics.
The second and final presentation was delivered by Mr. Sasha Lennon from SGS Economics & Planning. He proposed six key action areas as the way forward to effectively allocate scarce land resources to meet all potential future needs for industrial and commercial development and economic diversification in order to provide certainty for prospective investors and businesses in Brunei.
The six key actions are to ensure the incentives offered by Brunei are competitive, and the process of creating special purpose zones can respond to new investment proposals; to review the mechanisms for investment attraction and facilitation, and ensure decision-making is expedited within stated timelines; to adopt the recommended sustainable urban development areas (SUDAs), ie Telisai Energy Park, Brunei Creative & Knowledge Industries Precinct and Brunei Aerotech Precinct, and establish a development authority for each SUDA; to give statutory effect to the plans recommended in this study; to ensure the private sector can take a lead role in future urban development including the release of registered title land for purchase, and foreign investors are offered secure long-term leasehold of required land for economic development and to prepare a State Land Management Plan where ministries will be required to prepare a business case to identify future land requirements and the government to prepare a strategic infrastructure development strategy with funding provided to enable a continuous rollout of infrastructure to support the local construction industry.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin