The development of halal and Islamic goods and services is a prime opportunity to enhance Brunei Darussalam’s position as a business hub with the rapid growth of the global halal industry.
As a country practising Islamic law as a way of life and pillar of administration, Brunei works towards becoming a halal industry hub regionally and internationally. The halal markets hold vast potential for Brunei, especially in providing food security for Muslims in non-Islamic practising countries.
Brunei has diligently worked towards the development of a halal industry, particularly in ASEAN and BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines) East ASEAN Growth Area. In addition, the Sultanate has been focussing on the advancement of its halal food, beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
In Brunei, halal certification is issued and controlled by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). The Halal Food Control Division under the MoRA is responsible for the enforcement of Halal Meat Act, Chapter 183 and its regulations, and Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order (2005). All restaurants and food manufacturers catering to the Muslim community are required to obtain a halal certificate or halal branding under this order.
Adding on to the country’s implementation of Syariah law, it will further enhance the confidence that Brunei is fully determined to set its goal as a halal industry hub regionally and internationally.
In realising the initiative, Brunei via BIMPEAGA Vision 2035 (BEV 2025) provides the policies that give significant advantages to local businesses and their alliances to expand within the region. The Brunei Darussalam BIMPEAGA Business Council’s (BD-BEBC) strategic initiatives aim to promote the development of the BIMP-EAGA region as the main economic platform to move towards a halal economy.
Brunei works towards becoming a halal industry hub regionally and internationally. The halal markets hold vast potential for Brunei, especially in providing food security for Muslims in non-Islamic practising countries.
The council focusses on branding the BIMP-EAGA region as an international trade hub based on Syariah Compliance Value Stream and Trade Services. In addition, the council promotes the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to develop as an industry and production base for the global Islamic market. The initiative was further strengthened when the council launched its e-commerce platform, a joint initial investment between GTWO International Co Ltd, Thailand; IHTHS Corporation, Brunei; and PT Winmas, Indonesia.
The platform comprises products from BIMP-EAGA and beyond with a category for the Syariah-compliant products.
In December 2020, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was inked on Syariah compliance products development and trade between BD-BEBC and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). The MoU further propels the development of the halal economy in the BIMPEAGA region with the primary focus on halal products and certifications.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, BIMP-EAGA is rebuilding its economy and plans to bounce back stronger through strengthening the cooperation and commitments towards accomplishing the goals outlined in the BEV 2025.
Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd was established by the government in 2009 to play a key role in the development of the food industry and diversification of the economy by developing, marketing and promoting products under the bruneihalalfoods brand in Brunei and across the world. The company actively works in partnership with local businesses to develop Made in Brunei products aimed at import substitution and growing exports.
In the last seven years, Ghanim has been exporting over 15 Bruneianmade products to many countries including China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Bangladesh and Palestine. To cater to the growing halal food market, estimated to be valued at USD2.09 trillion in 2021 and expected to further grow to USD3.27 trillion by 2028 with a CAGR of 6.56 per cent, Ghanim established the Brunei Food Industry Development (BFID) Multipurpose Manufacturing and Processing Facility which began construction in June 2020.
The BFID established with the support of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) and other government agencies has the capacity to produce a wide variety of products including canned food, ready to eat meals in pouches, frozen ready to heat products, frozen ready to cook products including chicken, beef, seafood, vegetables as well as snacks and noodles among others, and is expected to begin exports by the third quarter of 2023.
Ghanim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Nur Rahman said, “With some years of export experience and understanding on the international market requirements, we saw a huge opportunity for Brunei to make a name in the global halal food market and produce globally competitive halal food products, so we worked together with key stakeholders to establish a processing facility that will have the highest possible international standards. As we have been exporting Bruneian made food products by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), we wanted to have a facility that can also support their growth. Therefore, the BFID is also expected to open up opportunities to local MSMEs that is accessible for use on rental basis for MSMEsto manufacture their products in a standard approved facility where we have established a line in the facility.”
“With an aim to develop the food industry ecosystem as a whole, the BFID facility will also develop Brunei’s capacity to conduct research and development (R&D) of food products and to repack food products,” he said.
Construction of BFID was recently completed in January 2023. BFID is expected to be certified under Halal, ISO2200, HACCP and BRC (British Retail Consortium). Aside from Ghanim’s own manufacturing for bruneihalalfoods products, the BFID will offer a wide range of services including contract manufacturing, OEM and private labelling, rental of multipurpose facility, product development, R&D, packing and repacking as well as storage facility. Through the BFID, the company is also extending its role in supporting MSMEs in the supply of some key raw materials.
Ghanim is also championing the Brunei Local Produce Centre (BLPC), a programme initiated by the government in April 2020 to support local farmers to access the market during the pandemic where Ghanim purchases the produce directly from local farmers and distributes them through its retail network, now made up of its own Junction stores, supermarkets and restaurants where the initiative continues to grow to date and is expected to grow further in 2023. Over 70 farmers have participated in the programme.
BFID is also expected to be a centre to aggregate local agricultural produce to enhance competitiveness of raw material inputs and value chain, to support the development of the agriculture sector.
When asked what’s in store for Ghanim in 2023, the CEO said Ghanim will continue to expand its global reach, through exploring distribution of Bruneian made food products into more new markets and participation in international trade expos namely Gulfood in Dubai in February and Thaifex in Bangkok in May. Ghanim is also aiming for new markets with Japan, Timor-Leste, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia on its list.
As for the local market, Ghanim plans to establish new Junction retail store outlets in other districts offering job opportunities for Bruneians, as well as a store front for local and One Village One Product (1K1P) products.
Over the last three years, Ghanim has increased the number of employees from 25 to 80 and soon over 100 employees. Ghanim employees consist mostly Bruneians to cater to the growth in all elements of business including manufacturing, trading, retailing and local produce promotion.
The current global market has displayed strong acceptance of halal products with increasing demand for halal pharmaceuticals products and health supplements.
While the trend of halal pharmaceutical products and health supplements offers a vast opportunity or platform for the country, several factors play a role in determining the halal or haram status of such products.
Brunei has set high standards and guidelines for manufacturing and handling of halal medicinal products, traditional medicines and health supplements.
The guidelines include sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation and storage of halal medicinal products, traditional medicines and health supplements.
According to the guidelines, halal medicinal products, traditional medicines and health supplements must not contain any components or products of animals that are non-halal according to Syariah law or products of animals that are not slaughtered according to Syariah law. The products must not contain any sorts of anything in any quantity that is derived from najis as defined by the Islamic law.
In addition, the finished products or any of their ingredients must be safe and not cause harm to its consumers.
Products must be prepared, processed or manufactured using equipment and facilities that are free from contamination of najis as defined under the Syariah law.
Simpor Pharma is the first Brunei halal pharmaceutical manufacturing company, offering comprehensive contact manufacturing services for branded nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies. The company is a joint venture of foreign direct investment (FDI) between Viva Pharmaceutical Inc of Canada and Strategic Development Capital Fund, one of Brunei’s equity funds.
With an investment value of over USD26 million, it is the country’s first good manufacturing practice (GMP) and halal-certified contract manufacturer of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
As part of its services, Simpor Pharma’s quality control lab offers in-house lab testing as well as physical, chemical analytical, and microbiological testing upon requests. Simpor Pharma verifies chemical compounds in raw materials and finished products, as well as the absence of harmful bacterial and other microbial contamination.
In addition to manufacturing and lab testing, Simpor Pharma also offers several processes and services including colour coating, logo printing, packaging and labelling.
Halal medicinal products, traditional medicines and health supplements must not contain any components or products of animals that are non-halal according to Syariah law or products of animals that are not slaughtered according to Syariah law.
As the country’s pioneering contract manufacturer, Simpor Pharma aims to position itself as a hub for exporting halal pharmaceutical products and health supplements on the global market.
To monitor and maintain a system to assure consistency in halal production, Simpor Pharma has established the Halal Assurance System (HAS). This will be done with the help of the halal management team (halal committee) led by experienced Muslim personnel.
The first set up and implementation of the HAS is the declaration of the Halal Policy, which states the guidelines that employees and visitors must adhere to for the implementation of HAS. In support of the HAS, Simpor Pharma has also declared its facility as pork-free.
The halal committee will monitor and make improvements to the HAS for better compliance to the halal guidelines according to Islamic law.
Simpor Pharma’s target is to obtain and maintain halal certification from various national agencies. The company is in the process to obtain halal certification for pharmaceutical products, health supplements and cosmetics.
Copyright 1993 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook All rights reserved.