Ministry of Health yesterday, by the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Minister of Finance and Economy (MOFE) II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah in a press conference recently. Image: Rafidah Hamit

A number of industries will have their loan repayments deferred for the next six months beginning April 1 as a means to mitigate the current impact of the COVID-19 virus towards the local economy.

This was revealed during a joint press conference held at the Ministry of Health yesterday, by the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Minister of Finance and Economy (MOFE) II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah.

“In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) is working closely together with MOFE (and) has been in close consultation with the financial industry and stakeholders to address the current impact of COVID-19 on local businesses,” he said.

He added that the ministry and AMBD will be working together with the Brunei Association of Banks (BAB) to establish interim measures that can alleviate the financial burden of specific sectors.

File photo of customers enjoying local cuisine at a local restaurant. Image: The Bruneian

Among these measures are six-month deferments on loan repayments effective April 1 for the tourism, hospitality & event management, restaurant & cafes (food & beverage) and air transport sectors.

“In addition, this deferment will also be extended to food and medical supply importers to support the higher cash flow requirements to meet the surge in demand,” the minister said.

All bank fees and charges, except third party charges, related to trade and payment transactions for companies in these sectors will also be waived for a period of six months to help businesses to self-sustain.

Online local interbank transfer fees and charges will also be waived for six months for all customers, the minister continued, adding that this is “to encourage social distancing and minimize visits to banks”.

Tourists taking pictures of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan. Image: Shutterstock

He then called on the public to utilise existing digital payment platforms offered by banks and other payment system providers. Meanwhile, banks have been encouraged to review their lending rates

“With all the various stakeholders coming together, taking the whole of nation approach, it is expected that the private sector, with all these relief measures, to also play their part by retaining their existing workforce,” added YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew.

For further information, please contact the banks directly or AMBD at 2388388 or info@ambd.gov.bn

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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