A more transparent process needed

Posted on  19/11/2010  |  Media Centre

19th November 2010

Debbie Too
Friday, November 19, 2010 – Page B16
Ease of Doing Business
Published on The Brunei Times

MORE transparent process should be put in place to improve Brunei’s Ease of Doing Business index, which would attract more foreign investment and increase the number of Small and Medium Enterprises in the country, said the chairman of a chamber of commerce and industry yesterday.

Part of a panel discussing ‘The Brunei Business Environment’ at a business forum yesterday, Hj Shazali Dato Sulaiman, partner of KPMG and chairman of the Brunei Darussalam International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BDICCI) said, “There are so many business processes that needs to be looked into but I think that the important thing that foreign businesses look into, in terms of processes, is the setting up of a company and the permits and licenses that are involved in commencing a business.”

There needs to be a “transparent, labour or immigration (process) for investors”, he added.

“If other licences are required, like miscellaneous licenses then there also needs to be a transparent procedure in place, so that it is easy for people to follow through, and that would be easier for people to do their own path analysis on the licenses that they need to start a business,” he explained.

It is important to streamline the process, he said, adding, “In some places, these can actually be done from a remote area, and you don’t have to go to the registrar of companies to do the setting up of the business, or business licensee.” Transparency is not just important for foreign investors, but would also help SMEs establish or expand their business or operations. While admitting there is a level of transparency already in evidence, he said, “what (SMEs) see is different from what is done”.

“I think we need to have procedures that are … really taking place in the practical sense, at the moment, there are issues being raised by foreign companies that they see and know what the procedures are however, when they try to follow and do it, the procedures are done differently,” he said.

He gave the scenario of dealing with two different officers at a government department who do not follow the same procedure in dealing with a particular client. He said, “If one is dealing with one person in a department, and returns to be serviced by a different person, the process would be done differently.”

“What I think is important is to have a transparent list of processes and procedures, where the departments or agencies involved will follow, and there will be no surprises,” he added.

The chairman of the BDICCI said that if all the agencies work together and are able to “put all these together and play the same tune”, the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Brunei can be vastly improved.

The BDICCI, he said, hopes to assist members and new companies coming in to set up new businesses and point them in the right direction. “With different authorising agencies and by being able to highlight the common problems that are faced by foreign investors, hopefully we can alert them and they can improve their processes so that the obstacles that they are faced with can be removed,” he said. He concluded the interview by saying that the three ingredients that are needed to improve Brunei’s business environment is to have uniformity, conformity and consistency.

In discussing Brunei’s regulatory environment, Hj Shazali was joined by co-panelists Fauziah Dato Talib, managing partner from IQ Quest and member of the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) and Dr Tan Kim Song, practice associate professor of economics from the Singapore Management University and co-founder of Frontier Investment and Development Partners.

Organised by the Asia Inc Forum, the session was part of the Local Business Development Forum 2010 that was held at the Grand Hall of the Empire Hotel and Country Club yesterday.

The Brunei Times

Source URL: http://bruneitimes.com.bn/business-national/2010/11/19/more-transparent-process-needed