Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The government will be paying 25 per cent of wages for MSME employees earning $1,500 or less for the next three months.

Effective April, this in an effort to shoulder the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Brunei, said the Second Minister of Finance Economy.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, who is also the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, revealed this during a press conference on Saturday announcing the rolling out of more interim measures by the government to mitigate the economical impact of the coronavirus.

The measures were decided upon following an assessment of the sultanate’s current economic situation and labour market performed in collaboration between MOFE, the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe).

Eight initiatives have been included in the new measures, and seven are slated to commence next month.

Meanwhile, one initiative; which is the six months suspension of rental charges for food, fish, fruit and vegetable markets across the nation, had already commenced in March, according to the minister.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

25 per cent subsidy of wages for MSMEs

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew said that the subsidy is intended to help ease the burden of MSMEs with 100 employees and less, adding that fund contribution for their Employees Trust Fund (TAP) will also be borne by the government.

He added that the government is seeking the cooperation of companies by submitting the relevant form via email at payments@tap.com.bn. The form can be downloaded through the website www.tap.com.bn at the beginning of April.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy building. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Eligibility extension for the iReady Apprenticeship Programme

Eligibility for the iReady Apprenticeship Programme will be extended to include graduates with Advanced Diplomas or Higher National Diplomas and individuals with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications.

Previously, the iReady programme was only opened to graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree and above.

Now with the addition of two new levels of education, the apprenticeship programme will run for a period of 18 months instead of the previous 36 months.

The government will provide a monthly allowance of $600 (advanced diploma and HND) and $400 (TVET) while also bearing the cost of their Employees Trust Fund (TAP) and Supplemental Contributory Pensions (SCP).

Members of the private sector who wish to sign up for the iReady programme are to ensure that a supplemental monthly allowance of $300 (advanced diploma, HND and TVET) are given to the apprentices, once they have reached the eleventh month of the programme.

Students discussing their next project. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

Upgrade of JobCentre Brunei (JCB) web portal

The JobCentre Brunei portal will be undergoing an upgrade to facilitate a more effective means of filling job vacancies.

According to the minister, the upgrade entails new functions such as automatic job matching, real-time application status update, algorithm and probability-based compatibility reports and many more.

No charges will be incurred for the use of these new facilities, and businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the new features and register with JCB through their website www.jobcentrebrunei.gov.bn.

Effective business matching for MSMEs via e-commerce platform

To ensure business continuity for MSMEs, an e-commerce platform will be set up as an alternative for businesses to market their products online, and as a means for effective business matching.

The platform will be available next week through www.dare.gov.bn and www.aiti.goiv.bn.

It will also feature online payment facilities and will utilise logistics providers for the delivery of goods.

For more information, businesses can email to info@dare.gov.bn or call 8363442 during office hours.

Life long learning through online upskilling and reskilling classes

The MPEC will be providing online as well as hands-on training aimed to fulfill the needs of companies in the current economic situation, as well as build the capacity of their human capital.

The initiative will also see IT companies preparing programmes that are relevant to the 4th Industrial Revolution, such as programming and data analytics.

Local tour guides registered under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism will also be provided with an opportunity to expand their horizons with skill development training in the food and beverage industry.

Those interested can email their applications to mpec@jpm.gov.bn.

DARe will also be providing free online training beginning today for courses under their Industry Business Academy, conducted through the platform Coursera which can be accessed through their website: www.dare.gov.bn.

DARe headquarters at the Design & Technology building at the Anggerek Desa Technology Park. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Co-matching grants for e-commerce and logistics providers

DARe will be increasing the number of grants for e-commerce and logistics providers in a bid to expand their efforts in carrying out this co-matching grant initiative and to help businesses prepare themselves for current and future situations.

Continuous dialogues with businesses on manpower demands

This initiative is meant for businesses that have been identified to require an increase in workforce, especially during the advent of COVID-19 in the sultanate.

These businesses include online businesses, security services, manufacturing and delivery.

The JCB will assist in facilitating the fulfilment of any workforce needs by providing services such as sending SMS to local jobseekers, providing a talent pool for companies and providing a virtual interview platform.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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