Brunei

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Government Administration

Brunei Darussalam is an independent sovereign Sultanate governed on the basis of a written constitution. His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the 29th monarch in succession to the throne, is the prime Minister as well as the Defence and Finance Minister and Head of Religion of Brunei Darussalam.

As Sultan, His Majesty is advised and assisted by 5 constitutional bodies, namely, the Council of Succession, the Privy Council, the Council of Cabinet Ministers, Religious Council and the State Legislative Council. The State Legislative Council which was reconvened in September 2004, consists of Cabinet Ministers, local dignitaries, people who achieved distinctions in business, religion and society as well as district representatives.

Economy

Brunei Darussalam has a small but wealthy economy, which is growing at a slow and steady rate. It has remained stable with an average inflation rate of 1.5% over the past twenty years. The people of Brunei Darussalam enjoy a high quality of life with an estimated US$31,000 per capita income – the second highest in the ASEAN region.

Brunei Darussalam’s economy has been dominated by the oil and gas industry for the past 80 years. Hydrocarbon resources account for over 90% of its export and more than 50% of its Gross Domestic Product. Today, Brunei is the fourth largest oil producer in South East Asia and the ninth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world.

Brunei Darussalam’s economy has been dominated by the oil and gas industry for the past 80 years. Hydrocarbon resources account for over 90% of its export and more than 50% of its Gross Domestic Product. Today, Brunei is the fourth largest oil producer in South East Asia and the ninth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world.

However, there is a rising awareness in the country of depleting natural resources and the subsequent need to diversify the economy away from its over-reliance on oil and gas. Plans for the future include upgrading the labour force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.

Brunei Darussalam imports about 80% of its food requirements, with the government subsidising certain staples such as rice, sugar and milk. The government also subsidises housing, electricity, water and oil as well as providing comprehensive medical services and free education through to university level.

Brunei operates a currency board system with the Brunei Dollar (B$) being pegged to the Singapore Dollar, allowing both currencies to be legally interchangeable in Brunei and Singapore.

Brunei Darussalam has a low tariff regime and no capital gains or personal income tax. Under its Investment Incentives Order 2001 prospective investors will also enjoy a wide range of incentives, including up to a possible 20 years exemption from corporate tax; exemption from import duties taxes on raw material, machinery, equipment, component parts, accessories or building structures and adjustment of capital allowance and losses.

Tourism

Culture. Heritage. Nature. Contemporary Asia. The four pillars of Brunei's tourism products, these elements offer a unique blend of modern refinement, scenic allure, cultural reverence and majestic opulence for the discerning traveller.

As a division within the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Tourism is a in charge of tourism development, marketing and promotion, as well as licensing of tour companies. The division has been actively engaged in the promotion of tourism to Brunei since the mid 1990s. It was then that tourism gained recognition as a rising industry capable of greatly contributing to the Kingdom’s economic diversification efforts, as well as becoming a significant generator of future employment opportunities for Brunei's citizens.

With recent increases in manpower and expertise, including the hiring of international tourism consultants, and a clear strategy with ambitious but feasible goals, Brunei Tourism is working to market its undiscovered tourism potential in the competitive regional tourism market. Brunei Tourism has also recently launched a fresh new identity to carve a face for Brunei in the competitive and dynamic regional tourism market. Brunei Tourism is committed to working closely with both local and overseas industry partners and the media to position Brunei Darussalam as a distinctive, exciting and undiscovered travel destination in Asia.

Editor: lishen