BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Brunei will continue its efforts to attract more foreign direct investments to strengthen local economy, Brunei's Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Hj Mohd Amin Liew has said.
During Saturday's Legislative Council meeting, the minister said the priority of government spending will be aligned with four main areas of focus.
He said these are increasing investments in the country, facilitating the ease of doing business, generating human resources that are competent and employable and maintaining the well-being of the public.
The senior government official said the government will continue their efforts to intensify activities in identified sectors to strengthen the Gross Domestic Product of the non-oil and gas sector. This includes luring in more foreign direct investments in Brunei.
"The government is proactively trying to attract quality foreign direct investments to accelerate the development of the private sector in this country," he said.
With regards to facilitating the ease of doing business in Brunei, the minister said emphasis will be given to the private sector, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises.
"Micro, small and medium enterprises will definitely become the pulse and driving force that can spur the economy of the country," he said.
The minister said that Brunei has signed a number of free trade agreements with regional and international partners to build a conducive environment that can open up opportunities to local entrepreneurs.
The third focal point, generating human resources that are competent and employable, looks at the country's development planning aspect and education to produce more experts, professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders.
The minister cited data from the Labour Force Survey 2017 which showed that the unemployment rate rose from 6.9 percent in 2014 to 9.3 percent in 2017, putting the number of unemployed individuals at 19,200.
He said reducing the unemployment rate in the country is one of the key agendas of the government who is looking to provide more employment opportunities for locals through public private partnerships, foreign direct investments and existing industries.
With regards to welfare, the minister said the government will continue to make sure the people in the country are properly cared for.
This includes provisions such as free educational facilities, quality medical provisions and subsidies for basic needs like rice, fuel for vehicles, water, electricity and housing, among others, the minister said.