With the hope that the private sector will become the driving force in elevating the country’s financial outlook, Brunei has taken a number of measures such as introducing reforms in the legal system and adopting the latest technologies to facilitate the growth of the private sector.
Since 2007 Brunei has opened itself to international scrutiny by the World Bank and was ranked 59 out of 189 economies in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2014. The country fell to number 101 in this year’s ranking due to changes in methodologies in assessment.
As part of the Ease of Doing Business initiatives and facilitating the growth of the private sector, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) is able to issue business licenses within one working day under the new Business License Act (Chapter 127) 2015.
In supporting these efforts, the Ministry of Finance, particularly the Registrar of Companies and Business Names (ROCBN), has implemented several measures to further ease the starting of businesses, especially in incorporation of companies through the introduction of an online system which can be accessed at www.roc.gov.bn.
The system not only reduces time for incorporating a company but also makes the process simpler that can be completed even from the confines of a home. It also enables users to pay related fees through a secure network fuss-free and therefore eliminates the need to be physically present at the ministry to conduct financial transactions.
During a demonstration for the Bulletin, officers from the ROCBN explained that it is possible fora company to be incorporated within the same day, compared to the four to 10-days waiting period prior to 2015. The results thus far have been positive. As of July 2015, since the beginning of the year, 285 companies have been incorporated with the ROCBN.
This is seen as an indication that many across the country are taking proactive measures as a means to being more independent in terms of generating their own source of income and ultimately contributing to the country’s economy.
As emphasised in 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’s latest titah, which was delivered during this year’s Investiture Ceremony, the Ministry of Finance echoed the monarch’s sentiments and said that “we need to strengthen our private sector to become major economic drivers so as to achieve and ensure sustainable economic growth”.
This will lead to the private sector potentially becoming “one of the leading roles in fostering income generation, employment and growth”.