Better support systems needed to develop SMEs
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Thursday, October 2, 2014
THE Minister of Industry and Primary Resources called on all stakeholders to provide better support systems for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which have the potential to drive and grow the local economy.
YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that the SME sector needs “better policies, new innovative support programmes and efficient procedures that will reflect the real contributors to the economy.”
“Stakeholders, either government or non-government agencies who are engaged in SME development, have to be competent,” YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said at yesterday’s opening of the Local Business Development programme.
He said that SMEs contribute to the global economy and help create jobs.
According to him, SMEs account for about 98 per cent of the total businesses in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and contribute 41 per cent to APEC economies’ gross domestic product.
SMEs also employ 64 per cent of APEC’s labour force and account for 30 per cent of APEC’s total exports. SMEs also account for between 95 and 99 per cent of the ASEAN economy, he said.
The minister said nearly 98 per cent of local businesses are SMEs, employing about 60 per cent of the workforce in the private sector. SMEs account for 26.8 per cent of the $29.2 billion operating revenue generated by the private sector.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said the government has implemented programs to “leapfrog” the country’s economic development. These include recent signing of an agreement with the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to establish the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor and the development of the Bio-Innovation Corridor.
He added that these initiatives provide “golden opportunities” for SMEs to be part of the value chain in areas such as supply, logistics and sub-contracting support services.
He said the Sultanate has made progress in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index where Brunei’s ranking improved from 79th in 2013 to 59th in 2014.
But YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said Brunei still needs to do more in building a conducive business environment and in enhancing the capacity of SMEs through training and support.
“Continuous review of capacity building programmes and organisational capacity for SMEs need to be strengthened so as to further enhance the services and outreach that we provide to SMEs,” he said.
The Local Business Development programme is organised by Asia Inc Forum together with the Entrepreneurial Development Centre and the Brunei Industrial Development Authority.
The Brunei Times