The Government of His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei, through its Wawasan 2035, has set out the directions for its economic goals with a growing emphasis on attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) as an important driver of growth, focusing mainly on economic activities that bring new knowledge, new industries, new technologies, new markets as well as new business and employment opportunities for its people.
The Economic Strategy that has been established calls for, among others, the following policy directions:
Ensuring continued macroeconomic stability;
Ensuring high rates of economic growth;
Promoting national economic competitiveness through policies that encourage productivity, economic openness and competition;
Investing in downstream oil & gas industries and other economic clusters selected on the basis of Brunei Darussalam’s competitive strengths, export potential and employment opportunities for local people;
Investing in the world class infrastructure that is required to attract foreign and domestic investment in new export industries.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT INITIATIVES UNDERTAKEN BY THE BEDB
The BEDB has identified several key industry clusters within the export-oriented manufacturing and services sectors that have the potential to bring value added activities to Brunei and create spin-off opportunities. Furthermore, the readily available industry cluster-specific sites throughout the country make Brunei as an ideal location for the establishment of the following industry clusters:
• Pharmaceuticals and Food & Food Ingredients
• Petrochemicals, Integrated Petrochemical Refinery and Renewable Energy
• Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
• Supporting Industries (Logistics and Oil Field Support Services)
Emerging New Technologies
Within the manufacturing sector, Brunei has the potential to develop new industries both within and beyond the oil and gas industry not only through the utilization of its rich biodiversity and natural resources but also its strategic location in the region. They include activities that can tap on Brunei’s hinterland as well as those that will add value to Brunei’s resources.
Tapping on Brunei’s Hinterland
Strategically located in the BIMP-EAGA region where key raw materials such as sugar and cocoa can be drawn in from neighbouring countries, Brunei sees itself as an ideal destination for the establishment of industries such as food & food ingredients and pharmaceuticals.
Food & Food Ingredients
The BEDB is particularly interested in the food industry and would like to attract major food and food ingredients companies into the country for exports. There are numerous opportunities that can take place in Brunei, from sourcing and refining raw materials to food manufacturing and eventual distribution to key sizeable markets within the region. Brunei also has the potential to establish research and development centres for the development of innovative nutritional products through the utilization of authentic local food ingredients that can lead to the manufacturing and processing of customised food products for global markets.
In addition to its well-established guidelines and standards for the handling and manufacturing of halal food products, Brunei has also launched its very own Brunei Halal Brand with the objective to make Brunei as one of the major players of the global trade in Halal food production and certification. With its strong Islamic background, the global market can be assured that Brunei’s Halal Certification is both stringent and credible for businesses to penetrate into the Muslim markets.
Another cluster focus is the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical ingredients industry in which the BEDB welcomes companies to establish a presence in Brunei.
Companies may also opt to produce halal pharmaceuticals as a value-add to their products. Brunei has recently developed its very own guidelines and standards for the handling and manufacturing of halal pharmaceutical products with the objective to pave the way for the establishment and production of halal pharmaceuticals in the country while seeking to become a global leader in halal industry.
Brunei’s strategic intent is to develop Brunei into a strategic location in the region for research and development with opportunities to generate new active compounds and manufacture new innovative and competitive pharmaceuticals. Brunei welcomes investments from internationally well-established companies to utilise Brunei as a strategic location for companies’ plans for expansion. We look forward to building a rapport and long-term partnership with such companies.
In 2010, Brunei witnessed the groundbreaking of its first halal pharmaceutical manufacturing plant at the Lambak Kanan East Industrial Site. Vivapharm (Brunei) Sdn Bhd is a joint venture between Canadian firm Viva Pharmaceutical Inc, private equity fund Aureos (Brunei) Capital Sdn Bhd, and a group of local investors. Vivapharm is a B$26 million project and is Brunei’s first halal and GMP (Good manufacturing Practice) ceritified manufacturer of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products and will be targeting the growing halal market. Vivapharm will be focused on exporting halal-certified natural health products, over-the-counter and prescription drugs to the Asia Pacific regional markets, Middle East, Western Europe and the United States.