Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah during a press conference. Image: Faza Suraj

More than 200 job opportunities have been generated throughout the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Second Minister of Finance and Economy revealed yesterday.

Speaking during a press conference, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said that a number of companies have stepped forward to recruit more local jobseekers during this difficult time.

“During this crisis, we should not assume that all businesses are affected (in the same way), there are new businesses set up and today we are trying to help some of those businesses,” he said.

“Some have benefitted in some way from this crisis, where it is bringing them a lot of business, and because of this, they are offering more jobs,” he added.

He continued that 10 of the vacancies have already been filled, with the Manpower Planning and Employment Council, through Job Centre Brunei currently processing the applications to make way for other local applicants to fulfill the remaining vacancies.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin also called on the private sector to play their role and generate employment during this crisis, with the minister encouraging employers to recruit more i-Ready apprentices, following the recent expansion of the i-Ready Apprenticeship Programme.

File photo of a vendor showcasing their products at the previous BruHAS event. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The government-led apprenticeship program was recently extended to include individuals with Higher National Diplomas (HND) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications.

“With the government willing to pay a part of the salary of these HND and TVET graduates, we are just hoping that the private sector will play their role and recruit them. Hopefully, when we come out of this crisis, we will all benefit from this,” he added.

The minister then proceeded to address a concern regarding hawkers and vendors whose subsistence heavily relied on their daily earnings from selling their wares and produce at the now-closed open air markets.

“We have already announced the suspension of rental charges for markets that have been closed as one of the country’s measures to curb the further spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

“Of course we understand that due to this closure, a number of the vendors have been affected financially, especially those who subsist on their daily earnings selling at the tamu,” he added.

A customer seen buying fresh vegetables sold at a local supermarket. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin explained that MoFE has already discussed with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) on how to effectively help the affected individuals by identifying them, their type of produce and their selling price.

The minister said that about a thousand vendors have been identified, and that the relevant ministries have taken the role of “aggregator” of sorts to help connect these vendors with the right market and buyers, such as supermarkets.

“We will help them sell their produce, because this approach that we are employing aims to allow these vendors to continue their business, to continue their farming activities, especially now when food security has become a major concern,” he said.

“We will continue to work with MoHA and maybe expanding this to the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, in order to help these small businesses.

“If this approach is successful, we can expand and improve upon it, to make it more effective in the future, for when the COVID-19 situation ceases,” he added.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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