Easier to Establish Business in Brunei

Pg Hj Mohammad Ali Pg Hj Othman, senior administrative officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs during a briefing on new guidelines of starting a business in Brunei Darussalam held at the ministry's building. Pic: BT/Sally Piri

Sally Piri

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

THE Government has made it easier for entrepreneurs to establish new businesses in Brunei Darussalam, following amendments to the law.

Now, “low-risk” businesses — which include shoe shops, eateries, and tailoring shops — no longer have to wait for the relevant government agencies to conduct inspections before they could be issued a business licence and start operations.

The business licence will now be issued immediately after the certificate of incorporation or company registration is obtained.

The inspection and monitoring activities by the relevant authorities will follow the start of business operations.

Previously, a business could begin operations only after the inspection process was completed and the business licence issued.

The easing of rules to do business was one of several issues brought up during a briefing on the new guidelines to start a business at the Ministry of Home Affairs’ building yesterday.

The purpose of the amended law, also known as the Miscellaneous Licence Act (Amendment) 2015, which took effect on January 1, is to speed up and facilitate the process of starting a business as well as to create a more pro-business environment.

In his presentation, Pg Hj Mohammad Ali Pg Hj Othman, senior administrative officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that with the new law, the Business Licence is now issued by a licensing authority, which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Business Licence, Pg Hj Mohammad Ali, said replaces the Miscellaneous Licence and any licence which was previously issued by the Municipal Department.

He said that licences that were issued before January 1, 2015 would remain valid until they expired.

Business activities under the Business Licence cover the same category in the previous Miscellaneous Licences Act Chapter 127 such as convenience stores, eateries, stalls, workshops, car dealers and gas stations, he added.

“Starting January 1, 2015, traders can start their businesses in accordance with the rules and guidelines once the certificate of incorporation or company registrations (form 16/17) and business licence are issued at the Registry of Companies and Business Names (ROCBN), Ministry of Finance,” he said, adding that action will be taken if they fail to comply with the guidelines.

With regard to the renewal of the Business Licence, it can be done via One-Biz System at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources for the business entities in Brunei-Muara District, while for Belait, Tutong and Temburong it can be done at the Licencing Division of the District Offices and the Municipal Departments.

He said that the government is planning to introduce the One-Biz system in other districts within two or three months.

Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, who is also the Head of Champion Groups of Starting A Business, said that low-risk business such as a shoe shop which already has an Operating Permit, can start business immediately under the new guidelines.

“If one already has the business address, type of business activity such as a shoe shop located in a place with operating permit, as soon as one leaves the Ministry of Finance building with the two certificates — (Business Licence and Company Registration) — in hand, one can start the business,” said Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy.

He said that the relevant authorities can carry out the monitoring activities later.
With regards to a halal eatery, the halal certificate must be provided. The owner must apply for the certificate at the Ministry of Religious Affairs within two weeks and will receive it in six months time. However, the owner can still operate the eatery place while they are waiting for the halal certificate, he said.

Hjh Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Hj Awang Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, who is also Secretary of the Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee, said that the ministry was collaborating with other agencies to ensure that the ease of doing business in Brunei is increased not only to improve the rankings but also to make it easier for the entrepreneurs to do business in Brunei. She lauded the efforts made by the Ministry of Home Affairs in shortening the time to process the licences, especially for low-risk businesses.

“Once you register, you can immediately start the business,” said Hjh Normah Suria Hayati.

Mariani Hj Sabtu, head of the Ease of Doing Business Unit at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources said that two specific targets that the government would like to achieve under the amended law was to reduce the cost and to shorten the number of days needed for getting business licences.

“It is to simplify the procedures so that the businesspeople can concentrate on their efforts to make money,” said Mariani.

According to the recent World Bank report the time to complete the application for miscellaneous licence (Rampaian) at the Municipal Board in Brunei was two months, while another 21 days would be needed to pick up the rampaian licence.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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