Brunei in Top 50 World Economic Fourm Global Competitiveness Index

Brunei jumps 12 places in global index
September 28, 2017

| Danial Norjidi |

THE World Economic Forum (WEF) yesterday released its Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, which sees Brunei Darussalam jumping a significant 12 places from last year, ranking 46 out of 137 economies worldwide with a total score of 4.5 out of 7 (See Table 1 below).

The latest rankings also highlight Brunei Darussalam as the most improved country in the Asean region (see Table 2 below ), overtaking the Philippines which was one position higher than Brunei in the previous report.

Brunei is now in the top five most competitive economies in the Asean region behind Singapore (3), Malaysia (23), Thailand (32) and Indonesia (36); followed by Vietnam (55), the Philippines (56), Cambodia (94) and Laos (98).

The top 10 performers in this year’s report, in order of ranking, are Switzerland, United States, Singapore, the Netherlands, the Germany, Hong Kong, Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan and Finland.

The report also included the outcome of the WEF Executive Opinion Survey which highlighted that the top three areas that require further improvements for doing business in Brunei Darussalam were, ‘access to financing’, ‘inefficient government bureaucracy’, and ‘poor ethics in national labour force’.

The Global Competitiveness Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide, widely recognised as the world’s leading assessment for the competitiveness of economies for over four decades.

In the report, competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of an economy, which in turn sets the level of prosperity that the economy can achieve. It is measured by the 12 pillars which capture concepts that matter for productivity and long-term prosperity such as institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

These pillars are grouped into three sub-indices: Basic Requirement, Efficiency Enhancers, and Innovation and Sophistication factors.

According to a press release from the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO), the improvement in Brunei’s ranking demonstrates that the business sentiments in the country are moving forward in the right direction and this is in line with the comprehensive efforts to establish a pro-business environment as applauded by the World Bank and reflected in the Doing Business Report 2017 last year.

His Majesty’s Government, through the Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee, has since then been actively driving business reforms to streamline inefficient government processes, ensure the costs of doing business are competitive, and that regulations are aligned with international best practices.

There have also been initiatives more focussed on easing Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into Brunei with the establishment of the FDI Action and Support Centre (FAST), which is responsible for fast-tracking the facilitation process for projects and coordination within the different investment agencies.

These initiatives have resulted in signs of increased confidence in Brunei as a destination for investments – manifested in the recent healthy influx of FDIs from different sectors.

A great example of this confidence is Hengyi Industries’ recent US$12 billion commitment to develop the second phase of its Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) refinery and petrochemical plant, making Brunei its largest foreign investment to date.

Improving the business environment and ultimately Brunei Darussalam’s global competitiveness is a key priority of His Majesty’s Government to ensure Brunei Darussalam can sustain its trajectory of economic growth towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035, with greater collaboration and transparency between the public and private sector now being a key success component to stimulate growth in the non-oil and gas sector.

A majority of the 12 Pillars measured by the Global Competitiveness Report covers the overall eco-system of Brunei. These pillar components are under active monitoring by the Wawasan Council, which allows the Council to stock take the country’s standing and intensify focus to drive socio-economic improvements for the country’s long-term sustainability.

In preparation for the Report this year, the WEF and Brunei Darussalam – through the EIDPMO – carried out the Global Competitiveness Study, which began in March and ran until early May this year.

This year, there has been a greater number of companies participating in the study by giving their feedback. The participating companies range from Foreign Direct Investors, government-linked companies, as well as SMEs across various sectors of the economy such as oil and gas, agriculture, retail, logistics and communications.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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