Through Brunei Vision 2035, the country aims to transform 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, 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 market competition.
The first key prohibition covers four illegal conducts: price fixing, market sharing, supply control and bid rigging. The Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) began enforcing the first key prohibition on January 1, 2020 and launched its official website at www.ccbd.gov.bn.
To be enforced at a later stage are the two remaining key prohibitions: abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive merger.
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.
Brunei is one of six ASEAN member states that received higher inflows in 2018 than in 2017, according to the ASEAN Investment Report 2019. The report noted that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Brunei rose from USD460 million in 2017 to USD504 million in 2018.
Recent reports of various sources have forecast the economic growth in the country. Last December, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast the Sultanate’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate to be one per cent in 2019 and 1.5 per cent in 2020.
According to the report’s Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index, Brunei performed well in intellectual capital competitiveness (46), natural capital competitiveness (51) and social capital competitiveness (66).
Overall, the Sultanate is ranked 65th out of 180 economies with an overall score of 45.5 out of 100. The index measures current and future capacity to generate and sustain population, income and wealth based on natural capital, social capital, resource management, intellectual capital and governance efficiency.
Meanwhile, according to the 14th Annual State of the Region for 2019-2020 report by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), Brunei’s GDP growth is projected to be 4.7 per cent in 2020, an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to 2019. For 2021 and 2022, the GDP growth is projected to be 3.6 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively.
The report includes PECC’s innovative index on connectivity in the region. A notable finding in the report was that the result for people-to-people connectivity for Brunei is 54.4 per cent. Brunei performed very strongly on two sub-indices of this pillar, educational mobility and social media penetration at 14.6 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively. The report indicated that Brunei has the highest social media penetration among the Asia-Pacific economies.
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’.
The latest United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) ranked Brunei 43rd out of 189 countries. The index uses indicators such as life expectancy, education and gross national income (GNI) per capita to measure a country’s level of development. According to the report, Brunei’s GNI per capita is USD76,389 based on purchasing power parity (PPP), the fourth highest in the world.
Depending on the overall score, a country’s development index is categorised as low, medium, high or very high. With a score of 0.845, Brunei is at a very high development index, reflecting its high standard of living, health, quality of education and economic performance.
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