Brunei Update: September 6, 2018

Brunei Update | September 6, 2018
Authors: Artha Sirait, Kim Yaeger and Bryan Yeoh 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Brunei Continues Its Diversification Efforts: Tourism, Downstream Oil and Gas, and Business Services

In last month’s Brunei Update, the Council discussed Brunei’s effort to diversify its economy through international cooperation with China. This month’s edition of Brunei Update discusses the government’s local efforts to diversify Brunei’s economy through tourism; and downstream oil and gas, in addition to the government’s general effort to improve Brunei’s competitiveness compared to its ASEAN neighbors.

On tourism, Brunei’s Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is aiming for 278,000 tourist air arrivals and BND141 million in tourism receipts for 2018. In comparison, Brunei had received 258,955 tourist air arrivals and BND 83 million in tourism receipts for 2017. In May, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) received the first of seven Airbus A320neo. The Centre for Aviation predicts that Brunei’s overall market could grow by 30% once all seven aircrafts are delivered. RBA’s new fleet of A320neos combined with its current fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners will allow for expansion of routes. This year, RBA has launched new routes to London and Nanning, China with plans to reintroduce flights to Taiwan. Direct flights to Taiwan from Brunei had been cancelled for the past 15 years since the severe acute respiratory syndrome scare (SARS) in 2003. Locally, the tourism development department’s strategic plan for 2018 targets the development and sustainability of tourism offerings and ensuring the quality of tourism infrastructures and services. Thus, the department has earmarked potential tourism investment sites and organized workshops for Bruneian tour guides.

In terms of downstream oil and gas activities, the Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI) and German company Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG (tkIS) recently launched the first fertilizer factory in Brunei. The facility will utilize Brunei’s large gas reserves to produce high-quality nitrogen for export. The factory will add value to the existing pool of downstream activities in Brunei as ammonia and urea which are by-products of the industrial process will allow for the creation of urea formaldehyde and melamine. In addition, Brunei also launched PHH Gas and Chemical’s Micro Filling Gas Plant. This facility is the first fully Bruneian-owned factory producing oxygen and argon. Besides physical infrastructure, Brunei has also invested in research and development. Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and Brunei Shell Petroleum Company signed a Supplemental Agreement to update the scope of the Funding Agreement inked in 2009. Among the clauses in the agreement include implementing projects that support chemical and petroleum engineering, continued development of chemical and petroleum engineering programs in UTB, big data and analytics, testing facilities and research in development in new energies. These infrastructure and research and development initiatives will help Brunei diversify the business activities in its historically upstream focused energy sector.

Brunei is also implementing policies to encourage greater local Bruneian enterprise development through the implementation of the 2016 Darussalam Enterprise (DARe). In the same spirit, Bruneian businesses are encouraged to participate in the upcoming China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) this month. At the expo, Bruneian companies will be able to leverage on the unique platform to engage with foreign companies through a series of professional forums and activities. Last year’s CAEXPO provided an effective platform for Bruneian companies to communicate and deepen their business cooperation with Chinese counterparts particularly on the development of Brunei’s halal food industry. In July 2017, Brunei enacted the amendment to the Halal Certification and Label Order 2017, which further standardized halal permit and certification in Brunei. Last year, Brunei’s local halal industry alone contributed over BND88 million to the country.

The Bruneian government continues its drive to diversify its economy and improve the country’s investment climate to make it attractive to investors. The positive impact of the government’s efforts is noted in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2018 index where Brunei significantly improved its rankings from 72 in 2017 to 56 in 2018. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2018 ranking places Brunei at number 56, the fourth highest ranked ASEAN member after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Brunei was rated as the biggest improver in the rankings with eight regulatory reforms that have made it easier for business to start and grow. Brunei’s stable political environment, relatively low corporate tax rates and regulatory reforms all combine for an attractive business environment for investors. While further reforms are needed, Brunei does have growth opportunities and should continue leveraging on its pro-business environment, a highly-educated workforce and its proximity to other emerging markets in ASEAN to better compete for foreign direct investment.

 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Dr M: Similarities between Malaysia - Brunei key to stronger ties
Brunei salutes US but banks on China
Brunei-Singapore Military Ties in Focus With Introductory Visit
Brunei, Indonesia committed to boost trade: Envoy
Joint declaration aims to combat cybercrime

National Affairs
Nation experiencing haze
SHAPE community project launched
His Majesty turns home dream a reality for 860
His Majesty consents to appointments of senior officers
Play key role in realising Vision 2035, youth told
Sultan appoints new AG, Deputy Minister, other senior officials

Defense & Security
Brunei-S’pore defence ties excellent

E-Payments
BruPay receives AMBD approval for trial phase

Economics
BIBD BizNet mobile application, QuickPay launched at TechXpo 2018
BIBD launches Asian Desk to facilitate FDIs, boost economy

Energy
China's Hengyi pushes back Brunei refinery start-up to Q2 2019 -...
Pioneers break down hydrogen’s growing potential as new energy source | Borneo Bulletin Online
Minister launches PHH’s Micro Filling Gas Plant at PMB
UTB inks deal with BSP to initiate fresh projects

Financial Services
AMBD updates Alert List

Food & Agriculture
30 entrepreneurs learn good manufacturing practices | Borneo Bulletin Online
Singapore minister praises Brunei’s aquaculture industry
Fish in short supply due to bad weather conditions
Mothers thankful for agricultural technology model
Brunei seeks regional Halal industry hub status
Bird flu threat: Brunei halts poultry imports from Sabah

Health & Life Sciences
Growing elderly population poses challenges for Brunei’s healthcare system
Health programme for seniors launched
Brunei expected to see rise in dementia due to high prevalence of NCDs
Brunei makes history with first clot removal for stroke

ICT
Make and receive landline calls on your mobile: Telbru's Cakapp
Crown Prince graces BICTA 2018
Brunei has 8th fastest 4G network in Asia-Pacific | Borneo Bulletin Online
Brunei Technology Expo concludes

Infrastructure
Pan Borneo Highway to continue but won't cut across Brunei
New webpage provides info on ABCi’s services
Anchor Resources to supply granite to Brunei construction firm

Manufacturing
Brunei records 5,690 car sales for first half of 2018 | Borneo Bulletin Online

Travel & Tourism
Tourists from China top arrivals into Brunei, Malaysia second
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Dr M: Similarities between Malaysia - Brunei key to stronger ties Yahoo News Singapore 3rd Sep 2018
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the principles of similarities shared between Malaysia and Brunei are among the main elements in strengthening the close ties between both nations.

Brunei salutes US but banks on China The Asia Times 24th Aug 2018
The United States Pentagon recently concluded its first army-to-army exercise in Brunei. 

Brunei-Singapore Military Ties in Focus With Introductory Visit The Diplomat 24th Aug 2018
This week, Brunei’s new second defense minister paid his first trip to Singapore in his current capacity. The visit put the spotlight once again on the defense relationship between the two Southeast Asian states amid wider domestic and regional challenges underway.

Brunei, Indonesia committed to boost trade: Envoy Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Aug 2018
The Governments of Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam are committed to boost bilateral trade by exploring untapped potentials in trade and investment and solid economic cooperation, amid a fluctuating trade figure in the last few years.

Joint declaration aims to combat cybercrime Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Aug 2018
Prosecutors General of ASEAN member states and China yesterday signed a joint declaration reaffirming strong commitment in working closer to address cybercrime and cybersecurity related threats, as well as other transnational organised crimes at both national and regional levels, following the conclusion of the 11th China-ASEAN Prosecutors General Conference.

National Affairs

Nation experiencing haze Borneo Bulletin Online 21st Aug 2018
The recent dry weather and sweltering temperatures, which have been a source of great irritation for locals, are prime contributors to the problem, causing the spread of forest fires – most recently detected at Lambak Kiri last Sunday night. 

SHAPE community project launched Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Aug 2018
Disabilities or being a special needs individual should not be a hindrance to one making positive changes or positively influencing their environment. Relaying this message was Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad during the opening ceremony of the ‘Secure Holistic Awareness by Providing Education (SHAPE) for The Community’ project held at The Airport Mall, Berakas yesterday.

His Majesty turns home dream a reality for 860 Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Aug 2018
As part of the government’s effort to enhance the quality of life of the people in the country, 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 presented key plaques to 860 new house owners in a ceremony at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Berakas yesterday.

His Majesty consents to appointments of senior officers Borneo Bulletin Online 12th Aug 2018
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Roslan bin Haji Taja’ah has been appointed as Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office; and Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence Pengiran Hajah Zety Sufina binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sani as Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office. The date of appointment for said officers are effective from today.

Play key role in realising Vision 2035, youth told Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Aug 2018
Youth play an important role in implementing Brunei Vision 2035 and in 15 years from now as they would be the ones leading the country, said Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.

Sultan appoints new AG, Deputy Minister, other senior officials Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Aug 2018
By the command of 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, several new appointments of senior senior government positions, including Attorney General (AG) and Deputy Minister of Development, were announced yesterday evening.

Defense & Security

Brunei-S’pore defence ties excellent Borneo Bulletin Online 15th Aug 2018
Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Singapore reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing bilateral defence ties of both countries during an official visit by Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof to Singapore, upon invitation by Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen.

E-Payments

BruPay receives AMBD approval for trial phase Biz Brunei 29th Aug 2018
Fintech startup BruPay has received approval from Brunei’s central bank Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) to begin engaging the public for the trial phase for its digital/e-wallet service. 

Economics

BIBD BizNet mobile application, QuickPay launched at TechXpo 2018 Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Aug 2018
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) recently introduced its latest additions to the BIBD NEXGEN universe – BIBD BizNet mobile application and QuickPay – at the TechXpo 2018, being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas. The move is part of BIBD’s efforts to support cashless transactions.

BIBD launches Asian Desk to facilitate FDIs, boost economy Borneo Bulletin Online 11th Aug 2018
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) yesterday strengthened its commitment to provide better support and convenience to Brunei’s economy and its corporate institutions with the launch of its Asian Desk. 

Energy

China's Hengyi pushes back Brunei refinery start-up to Q2 2019 -... Reuters 5th Sep 2018
The start-up a refinery-petrochemical project in Brunei by China’s Hengyi Industries International Pte Ltd will likely be delayed by a few months to the second quarter of next year, four industry sources said on Wednesday.

Pioneers break down hydrogen’s growing potential as new energy source | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin Online 5th Sep 2018
A seminor on the utilisation of hydrogen was co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan in Brunei Darussalam together with a consortium of companies, Chiyoda Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and also Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) yesterday.

Minister launches PHH’s Micro Filling Gas Plant at PMB Borneo Bulletin Online 19th Aug 2018
Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein yesterday launched PHH Gas and Chemical Sdn Bhd’s Micro Filling Gas Plant. The gas plant is situated at Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) and it is the first wholly Bruneian-owned plant producing oxygen and argon.

UTB inks deal with BSP to initiate fresh projects Borneo Bulletin Online 14th Aug 2018
A significant milestone was reached yesterday as Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) signed a Supplemental Agreement in the presence of Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd (Shell) to continue their relationship in supporting research and development, education and the application of knowledge to enhance the technological capabilities of Brunei Darussalam’s oil and gas sector.

Financial Services

AMBD updates Alert List Borneo Bulletin Online 14th Aug 2018
Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) has informed members of the public that the AMBD Alert List has been updated.The AMBD Alert List is a list of individuals, companies and websites which are neither authorised nor approved under the relevant laws and regulations administered by AMBD or whose activities raise a suspicion of illegal financial activity. 

Food & Agriculture

30 entrepreneurs learn good manufacturing practices | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Aug 2018
Thirty participants from micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including Village Consultative Council members from Brunei-Muara District yesterday attended a workshop on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) at the Simpur Hall of the Rimba Horticulture Business Centre. 

Singapore minister praises Brunei’s aquaculture industry Borneo Bulletin Online 21st Aug 2018
Singapore Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Education, Chee Hong Tat praised Brunei’s aquaculture industry during a visit to Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd’s Multi-purpose Marine Resources Processing and Business Centre in Serambangun, Tutong.

Fish in short supply due to bad weather conditions Borneo Bulletin Online 19th Aug 2018
For the past several months, a shortage in supply of fish at the Gadong fish market prompted most of the fishmongers to temporarily close their stalls. Fishmongers said this is mainly due to unpredictable weather and rough seas, winds and heavy rain.

Mothers thankful for agricultural technology model Borneo Bulletin Online 15th Aug 2018
Two single mothers yesterday expressed gratitude to the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and Community Development Department (JAPEM) for the assistance to the duo to generate an income. The agricultural technology model – introduced by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood – is a cheap agriculture method that is cost-effective and easy to use. The assistance is given to low income groups that include youth and single mothers.

Brunei seeks regional Halal industry hub status Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Aug 2018
Brunei Darussalam is working towards positioning itself as a Halal industry hub in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and ASEAN regions, said Deputy Permanent Secretary (Management, Cooperatives and Industry) at the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab. 

Bird flu threat: Brunei halts poultry imports from Sabah Inquirer 8th Aug 2018
As a precautionary measure against the entry of bird flu into Brunei Darussalam, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood has announced a temporary ban on imports of live poultry, chicks, ducklings, fertilized eggs, fresh eggs, chicken meat and chicken feed in to the country from Sabah. 

Health & Life Sciences

Growing elderly population poses challenges for Brunei’s healthcare system Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Aug 2018
While Brunei Darussalam’s population at present is dominated by young people, the number of elderly in the country is rising steadily, bringing concern on whether the country is able to handle the problem this engenders, said Head of the Health Promotion Centre at the Ministry of Health Dr Hajah Norhayati binti Haji Md Kassim. 

Health programme for seniors launched Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Aug 2018
The Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Health Promotion Centre held a launching ceremony for its Health Programme for Elder Citizens 2018 at the Senior Citizens Activity Centre (PKWE) in Tutong yesterday.

Brunei expected to see rise in dementia due to high prevalence of NCDs The Scoop 15th Aug 2018
Brunei is expected to see an increase in dementia cases due to the high prevalence of non-communicable disease among the population, said the vice-president of Demensia Brunei, a new NGO aimed at raising more awareness on the disease. 

Brunei makes history with first clot removal for stroke Borneo Bulletin Online 11th Aug 2018
Brunei made history on July 13 when the first successful mechanical thrombectomy (clot removal) for stroke was performed in the country. 

ICT

Make and receive landline calls on your mobile: Telbru's Cakapp Biz Brunei 31st Aug 2018
TelBru is hoping to revitalize fixed-line use by launching Cakapp – a mobile voice application that enables users to make and receive calls from their landline on their mobile phone.

Crown Prince graces BICTA 2018 Borneo Bulletin Online 31st Aug 2018
An award ceremony for the Brunei Info-Communication Technology Awards (BICTA) 2018 was held yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Berakas. The winners of BICTA will have the opportunity to represent Brunei Darussalam in the regional competition – the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) – which will be held in Guangzhou, the People’s Republic of China on October 9-13. A few winners from various categories: A team of two sisters who are students from Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) garnering first and third places for their projects, ‘Mechsim’ and ‘GoBacker’. ‘Mechsim’ uses virtual reality to run simulations on mechanical installations, while ‘GoBacker’ is a crowdsourcing platform. A team of students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) took second place in that particular category for ‘Droplets’, which is an Internet of Things (IoT) system to monitor water in the environment. Mindplus Education Sdn Bhd won first place in the ICT Industry category for ‘Mindtrex’, an adaptive learning, practice and exam simulation app that aims to boost overall academic results with the help of advanced technology.

Brunei has 8th fastest 4G network in Asia-Pacific | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin Online 25th Aug 2018
Brunei Darussalam has the eighth fastest 4G network in the Asia-Pacific with 17.48Mbps speed, according to a report by Open Signal, a UK-based wireless technology company. The report compares 4G performance across 88 countries worldwide.

Brunei Technology Expo concludes Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Aug 2018
The four-day Brunei Technology Expo (TechXpo) 2018 concluded at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday. Themed ‘Innovative Technology For All’, TechXpo served as a platform for exhibitors to showcase products, services, trends, developments, and ideas associated with technology from Brunei and all across the globe, offering opportunities both in the local and international levels.

Infrastructure

Pan Borneo Highway to continue but won't cut across Brunei The New Straits Times 3rd Sep 2018
Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam have in principle reached an understanding that the Pan Borneo Highway project, connecting Sarawak and Sabah, would not cut into the country.

New webpage provides info on ABCi’s services Borneo Bulletin Online 18th Aug 2018
THE Ministry of Development introduced a new intuitive, efficient and user-friendly webpage www.abci.gov.bn for the Authority for Building Control and Construction Industry (ABCi).

Anchor Resources to supply granite to Brunei construction firm The Straits Times 15th Aug 2018
Catalist-listed mining group Anchor Resources said on Wednesday (Aug 15) that its subsidiary, Stonetrade, has entered into an agreement to supply 3.6 million tonnes of granite aggregates in the next four years at B$21 per tonne to SIVLI, a Bruneian construction firm.

Manufacturing

Brunei records 5,690 car sales for first half of 2018 | Borneo Bulletin Online Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Aug 2018
Brunei Darussalam sold a total of 5,690 brand-new cars up to June this year, which is a drop of 6.3 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year, according to a report by the ASEAN Automotive Federation.

Travel & Tourism

Tourists from China top arrivals into Brunei, Malaysia second The Scoop 5th Sep 2018
Chinese tourists now comprise the majority of arrivals into Brunei by air, unseating Malaysia as the largest source of visitors, new data from the Tourism Development Department has indicated.