His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has continuously called on for more sustainable resources to be explored and developed, so the country could have more than just the oil and gas sector to latch onto for economic growth.
In several occasions including his 72nd birthday last year, the monarch stressed that depending exclusively on oil and gas to breakeven would be unwise – as anything can happen due to the uncertainties caused by the fluctuating global oil prices.
Thus, the Sultan then concentrated on rallying the people to start treating agriculture and entrepreneurship seriously while also urging the government and other related stakeholders to come up with policies and plans to support such.
Highlighting the need for agriculture and entrepreneurship
In his previous titah, the monarch stressed the need for Brunei to explore untapped areas in the agricultural field, stressing the immediate mobilisation of such sector being paramount to the country’s survivality and development.
“It is not practical for countries that still have untapped lands, still receiving rain, to continue importing necessities like food without making an effort to produce them on their own,” His Majesty said during his 72nd birthday.
Another step for Bruneians to further agriculture, said His Majesty, is to utilise technology, which has been proven to increase agricultural output for various countries in the early 20th century.
Besides agriculture, Brunei is also working hard towards creating a stronger eco-system that could fully support the growth of businesses in the country, especially those classified as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Achievements over the year
A number of initiatives have been made, as a follow-up to His Majesty’s calls to pinpoint the two sectors.
Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) continued to be active in developing training programmes, guidance and other assistances to budding entreprenuers – so they would know what to do and where to go in their quest to sustain their businesses.
Several other private institutions had also come up with their own initiatives to support the monarch aspirations – with business pitching competitions and empowerment programme continued to mushroom as years go by.
Brunei’s primary resources section including agriculture and fisheries had also undergone major improvements. The nation started planting a high-yielding paddy strain ‘Sembada188’ last year, which is expected to tremendously increase the national rice output.
The establishment of Yamako Pacific Brunei was also expected to bring Brunei’s fisheries sector to greater heights.
Youths have also become self-driven to start businesses, and be more involved in agriculture. With the help of ICT, all of them strove to introduce newer ways to efficiently tackle economic problems in Brunei.
With every arms and heads continuing moving the same way, irregardless of whether the hailed from the public or private sector, Brunei may have a stronger fighting chance to accomplish its Vision 2035.
Waqiuddin Rajak | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN