The backbone of any developing country is a strong and dependable industry that has the capacity to expand and carry the nation forward into the future.

Although Brunei has long been established as an oil and gas nation, the Government under the leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam realises that there is a need to diversify in order to survive in the highly competitive environment of the modern world.

The country is now embarking on a diversification programme that emphasises industry and commerce. This move is in recognition of the fact that oil and gas are non-renewable commodities.

The non-oil sectors of the economy are manufacturing, services and trade, tourism and high technology.

The main focus of industrial development is to widen the industrial base through small and medium enterprises. To make this possible, a conducive business environment and attractive investment incentives are being made available.

The development of the industrial sector is focusing on activities that could create ample employment opportunities for locals as well as on areas where the country has a competitive advantage.

These include high technology, tourism, financial services, value-added and export-oriented industries that have the potential to expedite industrial development.

Brunei has drawn up an Industrial Development Plan to help the country diversify its oil-based economy.

The plan lists four sectors, which are being actively promoted to attract foreign investors - Manufacturing, Primary Resources, Services and Human Resources.

The Brunei Industrial Development Authority, an agency under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, aims to be an efficient, effective and dynamic agency in facilitating the development of industrial and cooperative activities through its vision of creating an environment conducive for the growth of industries and cooperatives.

The principal role of this authority is to provide His Majesty's Government with a more focused and organised approach towards industrial and cooperative development capable of making a meaningful contribution to the social and economic well being of the nation.

The Brunei Industrial Development Authority facilitates:

  • The formation and development of new industries
  • Expansion of existing industries and re-orientation to export market; and
  • The creation of a dynamic cooperative sector.

The Brunei Industrial Development Authority is the main provider of fully developed industrial sites in the country, readily available to local and foreign investors.

Most of these industrial sites are strategically located near and around the capital city Bandar Seri Begawan with close proximity to the Brunei International Airport, the only airport with international direct linkages in the whole of Borneo, and the Muara Port, a deep-water port with access to all major regional and international ports. These prime industrial estate areas are located at Beribi, Lambak, Salar and Serasa.

Other industrial sites are located at Serambangun, Tutong district, the central part of the country while Sungai Bera and Pekan Belait serve the bustling oil and gas industry centre of the nation, Belait District.

Other Export and Oriented products

 Locally produced products include construction materials such as roofing and cement, mineral water, electrical cables and wire, furniture, food and beverages.

To attract more foreign investment into the country, Brunei Darussalam's attractions will be improved through the provision sites equipped with all the basic facilitates, provision of incentive packages and other related packages that arc transparent, fast and effective.

The primary resources sector includes agriculture (poultry, fruits and vegetables, and floriculture), fishery (which includes capture fishing and aquaculture), forestry (which includes the fields of eco-tourism and biotechnology) and integrated production like poultry, farming and product processing.

The Tourism Industry

Besides export-oriented activities, tourism is also one of the industries that is being promoted as part of the overall diversification programme.

In order to strengthen the development of the tourism industry, a tourism master plan has been commissioned and implemented. The master plan outlines strategies for promoting the industry that includes the provision of facilities, places of interests and development of human resource in spearheading the industry.

High Technology Industry

For the high technology industry, the targeted areas to be developed are the telecommunications, computer software, biotechnology and value-added industries such as food processing, multimedia industry and information technology.

These industries are suitable in view of the small numbered but educated and skilful local workforce.

Human Resource Development

The human resource development strategies under the 81 National Plan focuses on meeting the needs of the new knowledge based economy and skills in the field of technology.

It also focuses on increasing productivity, enhancing labour mobility through training and retraining and upgrading the quality of education.

As the 8th National Development Plan comes to an end in 2005, these strategies will continue to be executed and enhanced.

Economic Diversification

To realise the Government's objective of economic diversification through the development of the non-oil sector, the continuous proactive involvement of the private sector needs to be sustained and widened.

Thus, the Government through the various relevant agencies will continue its efforts to create a more advantageous investment climate through the existing rules and regulations and creating new ones, if necessary.

Facilities for private sector development such as industrial sites, financial assistance schemes and attractive incentives will be expanded.

Such measures are expected to accelerate further industrial development programmes and attract more foreign direct investments into the country.

At the same time, the Government, through the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, has established a Resource Centre and Standards to assist small and medium enterprises.
--Courtesy of Brunei Year Book