Boosting FDI, SMEs key growth strategy: Sultan

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ ANN) - As Brunei Darussalam’s economic growth is at a slower pace, government ministries and departments must focus their efforts towards speeding up productivity growth of companies under their respective jurisdiction, especially in the non-oil and gas sector.

This was stated by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah delivered during the audience and investiture ceremony held in conjunction with the monarch’s 71st birthday celebration at the Balai Singgahsana of Istana Nurul Iman yesterday.

The ruler also urged parties concerned to boost productivity to enhance competitiveness of companies, allowing local entrepreneurs to penetrate the export market, contribute to gross domestic product (GDP) growth and improve government finances.

“I am pleased to note that many efforts have been made towards boosting economic growth. Two core approaches have been focused on to ensure that growth really happens. The first approach is to step up foreign direct investment (FDI) and the second is to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to penetrate the regional and international markets.

“Towards this, I want the public and private sectors to shoulder the responsibility to enhance their innovation and creativity to produce high quality products. In this context, maritime and port authorities are expected to create a conducive environment for the development of shipping and logistics to meet export and import demand,” His Majesty noted.

“A joint venture has been forged between Darussalam Assets and a foreign company to manage Muara Port professionally which could generate economic growth,” the monarch added on this note.

“We are proud that more local youths are brave enough to enrol in business and entrepreneurial activities of late. They are able to offer products through various facilities and take benefits from platforms offered by the government such as vendor stalls. Without doubt, this is an encouraging development.

“Besides, my government has stepped up efforts to equip youths with skills through various programmes. The Human Resources Planning Unit at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Education have specifically introduced courses based on the Industry Competency Framework (ICF),” His Majesty said.

To support the government’s initiative, His Majesty consented to the establishment of the Capacity Development Centre (PPK) that offers training to locals to make them qualified for various jobs in the private sector including FDI companies.

In the titah, His Majesty also highlighted the proud achievement of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) which has maintained its position in the Asian QS University Rankings.

“We must take note that education is a life-long investment, a sign and source of enlightenment. Hence, education must not be weak but should be fresh and excellent forever. But such excellence depends on our ability to balance worldly education and education for life in the hereafter, particularly as the world nowadays is open to a mixed culture which includes good and bad.

“Only education for the afterlife is capable of differentiating between these cultures and help us make the right choice. Hence, it is crucial to strengthen and brighten Islamic education,” the Sultan said.

Touching on international relations, His Majesty said Brunei will continue to enhance cooperation with friendly nations through normal channels or our membership in regional and international organisations.

“In this uncertain era, it is vital to uphold friendship among countries globally, without which it would affect peace, and as a nation and as Muslims, we should realise this. Islam has taught us to be friendly with everyone and not to break ties, especially with Muslims.”

Earlier in the titah, the monarch expressed gratitude to Allah the Almighty for allowing the country to celebrate the auspicious occasion in peace and prosperity and conveyed appreciation to the special foreign guests and those who have expressed their birthday greetings to His Majesty and members of the royal family.

“There is no other priceless blessing than enjoying peace, stability and unity. Hence, all must pray to Allah the Almighty for such blessings to be everlasting and continue to flourish.”

In conclusion, the ruler thanked members of the public, leaders of public and private sectors, security personnel and officials working abroad for their contribution and support to the government. His Majesty also conveyed appreciation to members of the committee for the royal birthday celebration at the national and district levels for their services and contributions towards the success of the celebration.

His Majesty prayed that all the people and nation may continue to enjoy peace and prosperity and be showered with blessings and protection from Allah the Almighty.

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