BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Brunei is expected to see an increase in its national revenue this year due to the improvements in its oil and gas business, according to the preliminary report published by the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) recently.
The regional trade bloc expected the increase attributing to the higher oil and gas prices which drove Brunei to a significant revenue boost even though there were some disruptions in the industry last year.
Despite the increase, AMRO is also expecting Brunei to have a slower oil and gas export by the end of 2018 – but this could also reflect the large increase in capital goods imports for some of the sultanate’s mega projects.
Brunei’s economic growth is also expected to grow at a rate of 2.1 percent this year, after slowing down to 0.5 percent in 2018, AMRO said in its report.
This prediction was made based on few other economic improvements besides oil and gas which include enhancements in the financial sector, heightened economic diversification efforts and increase in foreign direct investments.
Brunei’s economic growth rate is expected to stand around 0.5 percent by the end of 2018 – a decline from 1.3 percent it achieved in 2017.
If the sultanate wanted to achieve the 2.1 percent prediction, then the nation would have to strive to maintain its economic momentum while following through with several of its large refinery projects this year, AMRO said.
Economic reforms and investments to diversify the economy away from the oil and gas sector into manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, aquaculture and other non-traditional industries should be continued to enhance Brunei’s long-term growth prospects.
Additionally, AMRO also suggested Brunei to conduct a supplementary recalibration of tax incentives to investors and broaden its tax base without reducing the attractiveness of its business environment, a move hoped to flock more foreign direct investors into the country.
AMRO is an international organisation established to contribute to securing economic and financial stability of the ASEAN+3 region, which include 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China; Hong Kong, China; Japan; and Korea.
The regional trade bloc’s main task is to conduct regional economic surveillance, supporting the implementation of the regional financial arrangement, the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), and providing technical assistance to its members.
AMRO representatives were in Brunei last November for its annual consultation visit which led to the publication of its latest preliminary report.