Through Brunei Vision 2035, the country aims to transform itself into a nation widely recognised for the accomplishments of its well-educated and highly skilled people as measured by the highest international standards. The nation aims to achieve a quality of life and per-capita income within the top 10 countries with a dynamic and sustainable economy.
Brunei Darussalam introduced the Competition Order 2015 to achieve this vision, particularly in terms of economic growth. The order aims to foster healthy competition in the market by prohibiting acts and factors that may disrupt the goal.
There are three key prohibitions under the order: anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive mergers.
The first prohibition covers four illegal conducts: price fixing, market sharing, supply control and bid rigging. The Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) began enforcing the prohibition on January 1, 2020 and launched its official website at www.ccbd.gov.bn. The two remaining key prohibitions will be enforced at a later stage.
Enforcing healthy competition among businesses will benefit consumers through several ways such as an increased number of choices, improved product quality, and affordable prices. In return, this will boost the local economy in the long run.
In terms of consumer protection, Brunei previously introduced the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Order 2011 which commenced in January 2012. The order protects consumers against unfair practices such as false claims and hidden charges, complementing the Competition Order 2015.
Enforcing healthy competition among businesses will benefit consumers through several ways such as an increased number of choices, improved product quality, and affordable prices.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Brunei Darussalam’s economic activity is projected to strengthen in 2021-22, albeit at varying speeds across sectors, and to continue improving over the medium term on the back of further diversification. The IMF stated this when its executive board concluded 2021 Article IV Consultation with Brunei Darussalam in September last year.
The IMF report shared that the real GDP growth is projected at around two per cent over the medium term and, reflecting important diversification efforts, the share of non-oil and gas is projected to rise further to around 52 per cent of GDP by 2026. IMF projected the country’s GDP at two per cent in 2021 and 2.6 per cent in 2022.
September 2021 also saw the Asian Development Bank (ADB) project Brunei’s economic growth at 3.5 per cent in 2022. In an update of its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, the ADB stated that Brunei’s economic growth for 2021 was trimmed to 1.8 per cent, down from their earlier forecast of 2.5 per cent in April last year. The higher forecast for 2022 is largely due to an expected rise in production and investment at Hengyi Industries’ refinery project and Brunei Fertilizer Industries’ ammonia and urea production plan.
In addition, Brunei Darussalam ranked 84th out of 193 countries globally and third in ASEAN in the Sustainable Development Report 2021, which assesses progress towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Sultanate received a score of 68.27 and achieved SDGs in quality education. Meanwhile, for clean water and sanitation, as well as industry innovation and infrastructure, the nation is on track or maintaining SDG achievements.
In terms of doing business in Brunei, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report ranked the country 66th out of 190 economies with an Ease of Doing Business (EODB) score of 70.1 out of 100. Substantive improvements were seen in the local regulatory framework for the indicators on ‘Enforcing Contracts’ and ‘Resolving Insolvency’.
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