The development of MSMEs across Southeast Asia is paramount to the post-pandemic recovery process of the region and as such their further progress and accessibility to finance and markets remain a priority area for the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC).
This was said by Legislative Council Member and Chair of the ASEAN BAC, Yang Berhormat Fdr Ar Siti Rozaimeriyanti DSLJ Hj Abd Rahman during the launching ceremony of the ASEAN Business Roundtables, ASEAN Business Investment Summit (ABIS) and the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) 2021.
During her opening remarks, she shared that the theme for Brunei’s ASEAN BAC Chairmanship is “Recover, Stronger, Together. Sama-Sama” which reflects the need for unity and collaboration within the region amidst the global health crisis of COVID-19.
“While the pandemic may be far from over, it has become clear that transforming global approaches to trade and development cannot be avoided when formulating a sustainable course to recovery from the pandemic,” she said.
“With that in mind, we must also not forget that any giant leaps or shifts in paradigm, there is a need of guidance for the businesses throughout the process to ensure no one is left behind,” she added.
Citing statistics from Brunei’s Economic Blueprint, YB Rozaimeriyanti highlighted how the number of MSMEs increased by about 3.4 per cent from 2015 to 2019.
Due to this increase, she stressed that more efforts are needed to integrate local MSMEs into the value chain to strengthen the in-country value.
“Having said that, reiterating facilitation of MSME development as one of ASEAN BAC priority areas is to strengthen their role in increasing their accessibility to financing and market – further pushing towards inclusive ASEAN and enhance the region’s economic integration as well as connectivity,” she went on to say.
The Chair then emphasised the need for businesses to work hand in hand with the government to address the challenges of today, especially during “times of crisis”.
In light of this, she proceeded to express the sultanate’s determination to use its ASEAN Chairmanship to help the ASEAN recover.
This is done by providing a platform to examine how businesses can move forward in the face of uncertainty through roundtables and the Summit which will “discuss the key issues of the day and help policymakers understand the real challenges that ASEAN is facing”.
“I believe that there is optimism for a speedy recovery for us all. Thus we shall rope our ASEAN Businesses to collectively recover stronger and signify our voice as One Community as we are indeed the ASEAN legacy,” concluded YB Rozaimeriyanti.
ASEAN BAC members are appointed by their respective governments comprising high-level CEOs of companies from each member country and represented by three members per member country, with one representing the interest of small and medium-sized enterprises. Government focal points, at the ministerial level, have been assigned to assist ASEAN BAC to fulfill its mandate.
In carrying out its objectives, ASEAN BAC holds regular meetings across ASEAN countries and engages in various ASEAN level forums to meet with government and private sector representatives so that all stakeholders concerned have the full understanding, acceptance, and ownership of the ASEAN integration process.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN