Contributions of Local SMEs to Direct Export Remained Insufficient (BruDirect (Brunei))

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country makes up more than 95 per cent of the total number of active enterprises, employing about 60 per cent of the total private sector workforce and contributing about 27 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, unlike in other ASEAN countries, the contribution of local SMEs to direct export has remained low. This was stated by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, during the ‘SME Roundtable Discussion: Integrating Competitive SMEs In Global and Regional Market’, yesterday afternoon.

The Minister of Industry and Primary Resources said that to ensure the country’s SMEs are able to face the challenges arising from a more open trading system, there is a need to develop the capacities and capabilities of Brunei SMEs by giving more emphasis on fundamental issues that hinder SME development.

He also mentioned that with the strong forces of globalization, it is thus essential for the country to build the capacities of local SMEs in order to ensure that they are highly competitive, innovative and be able to utilize the economic initiatives and incentives.

Yang Berhormat Pehin stated that as the country is currently at a crossroad to diversify as well as to broaden its economic base and product space, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) also focused and dedicated collaboration such as establishing a Brunei Darussalam-United States Small Business Alliance with the help of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Centres.

More than 30 SME entrepreneurs participated in the discussion, along with the members of US-ASEAN Business Council, to help improve their competitiveness in preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015.