BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): With heads of state from Asean and its Dialogue Partners, along with business CEOs and thought leaders converging at the Brunei Asean Business and Investment Summit on Oct 25, it is important for local players in the business community to understand various issues around the world, said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah.
“It may not be relevant to everyone, but it is paramount for us. Whatever happens out there, it changes the way they do their business, which in turn will affect us over time, ” he told the local media on Wednesday (July 7), on the sidelines of the Asean Business Advisory Council’s (Asean BAC) launching of the Asean Business Roundtables, the Asean Business and Investment Summit and the Asean Business Awards 2021.
The launching was held at the International Convention Centre (ICC), in conjunction with Brunei’s Chairmanship of Asean 2021.
“The Covid-19 pandemic will speed up the agenda of digitilisation, and we need to share with the business that it is not just a matter of ‘wait and see’ but to act immediately, ” the minister said.
“We must keep abreast of whatever is happening globally, such as digitilisation and climate change; and participating in the summit will help update us on current issues and how local businesses can respond to these changes.
“The private sector needs to discuss with the government on areas such as digitalisation. The government can create policies and come up with a Digital Economy Council, to set the direction forward.
“Like climate change, it cannot be done overnight and requires energy transition to move from where we are, to something that is more environmentally-friendly. All of these require effort from the government and the private sector”.
Earlier, Mohd Amin said, “It is critical and essential for the government and businesses to work together. Bringing together the leaders of Asean, businesses and civil society to discuss the key issues facing us will help to crystallise our thinking on what needs to be done to rebuild even stronger, together.
“Our Chairmanship of Asean comes during a time of unprecedented global challenges that have impacted us all in many different ways.
“As many of our economies are limping back to life, there is a new normal that is here to stay for the foreseeable future, with many economists predicting that pre-pandemic growth will not return until 2023, as new Covid waves persist in the region and globally.
“The OECD Economic Outlook report on Southeast Asia said the crisis has highlighted the interdependence between health and the economy.
“Countries with strong healthcare systems are able to bounce back better from the crisis. Thankfully, our healthcare system, and the policies put in place by the government and the BruHealth digital app have helped to ensure no domestic spread of the pandemic for well over a year now.
"Among the changes brought about by the pandemic is the acceleration of digital adoption that forces us to re-evaluate how we operate our businesses.
"Like businesses in many other countries, Brunei businesses must recognise the changing landscape and understand the tools available to them in the digital world and the skills they need to equip their staff, to thrive.
“In the midst of that, uncertainty remains high, supply chains and the movement of people continue to be disrupted. It is imperative that our business community understands the challenges and the opportunities that lie within and beyond our borders, and how to access them digitally.
“While we grapple with the pandemic, the longer-term challenge of climate change is increasingly urgent. The world’s rising temperatures and erratic rainfall are causing havoc and driving a key shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
“As an oil and gas-producing country upon which our economy is highly dependent, we have been working hard to realise our diversification agenda, and have launched the Brunei Darussalam Economic Blueprint as a guide to develop our Industrial Roadmaps and Key Sector Masterplans which pave our way forward towards a dynamic and sustainable economy.
“On Brunei’s sustainability agenda, we have declared this year as ‘The Year of Climate Action’, and introduced Protokol Hijau in all government departments.
Brunei’s Chairmanship theme is ‘We Care. We Prepare. We Prosper’, which focusses on three strategic thrusts of ‘Recovery, Digitalisation, Sustainability’. As a region, we must focus on recovery, and address the tectonic shifts caused by digitalisation and climate change.
“Guided by the strategic thrusts, as the Asean Economic Community Chair, we have developed 13 Priority Economic Deliverables that seek to push the agenda of economic integration forward. These range from addressing Non-Tariff Measures to the Asean Canada Free Trade Agreement to Cyber Security Energy Transition to Developing a Framework for Circular Economy.
“These 13 Priority Economic Deliverables are designed to help the business community grow and support the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework, to help the region recover stronger.” - Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network