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CSPS: Brunei economy projected to grow 3.7% in 2022

10 hours 13 minutes ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Brunei economy is forecast to bounce back from recession to post a positive growth of 3.7 percent this year, according to the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS). In its annual flagship publication Brunei Economic Outlook 2022, the think tank said the economy is expected to improve with growth across various sectors this year after an estimated contraction of 1.5 percent in 2021. Reeling from the spillover effects of COVID-19, Brunei had been reporting four consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth. While movement restrictions have gradually been lifted since November last year, the 1.5 percent GDP estimate in 2021 represents Brunei’s worst economic performance since 2016 when the GDP declined 2.5 percent. CSPS said real GDP has been lower than anticipated in the past two years, and that economic recovery will only be “partial” despite the relatively high economic growth forecast for this year. “The level of output remains well below pre-pandemic projections, following two years of subdued growth,” the think tank said. The International Monetary Fund had projected the Brunei economy to expand by an average of 4 percent during 2020-22, but the pandemic has resulted in weak external and […]

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Shareen Han

Brunei sees slight uptick in weekly COVID cases

2 days 9 hours ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei saw a steadying of new COVID-19 cases last week, with new infections rising just 1.6 percent. The weekly coronavirus tally hit 251 from January 17-23, up from 247 the week prior. Community cases accounted for 66 percent of all new infections over the past seven days, while the other 84 cases were imported. Holding the COVID press briefing on Monday, the health minister said most of the local cases were linked to household clusters while some were workplace transmissions. YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said the majority of new cases were people who were fully vaccinated and displayed mild symptoms. “We don’t have to panic or worry too much about the number [of new cases]. What’s important here is we need to look at the hospitalisation [rate],” he said. Despite an increase in the weekly proportion of people testing positive for coronavirus from 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent, the bed utilisation rate declined over the past week. The bed occupancy rate stood at 9.2 percent on Monday, compared to 10.3 percent at the start of last week. No COVID patients are currently in the intensive care unit. While Brunei has recorded at […]

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Shareen Han

Takaful Brunei customer wins Toyota Fortuner

5 days 9 hours ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — A Takaful Brunei Mobile user has won a Toyota Fortuner at a grand prize presentation ceremony on Friday. Hasrul Hj Damit bagged the grand prize after renewing his private motor takaful through the Takaful Brunei Mobile app. The father of three said he has been a Takaful Brunei customer for more than 20 years. Hasrul was one of the 11 finalists rewarded with prizes as part of Takaful Brunei Mobile’s first anniversary promotion, which is eligible for customers who purchase Takaful Brunei Am (TBA) or Takaful Brunei Keluarga (TBK) products using the mobile app or TBA Call Centre. Other winners included Rosita Idris who walked away with the first place cash prize of $5,000, while Yong Pian Huat went home with $2,500 after securing the second spot. The third cash prize was awarded to Dk Mas Juleana Pg Abdul Rahman, who won $1,000. Finalists who placed 4th to 10th received consolation prizes of $500 each. Takaful Brunei Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Hj Shahrildin Pehin Dato Hj Jaya presented the cash prizes during the ceremony at The Empire Brunei. In compliance with COVID-19 health guidelines, the grand draw was held as a private event with the finalists, […]

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The Scoop

COVID-19 cases increase for third week in a row

1 week 2 days ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – New coronavirus cases climbed for the third straight week in Brunei, rising nearly 83 percent with 247 infections. From January 10-16, the majority of new COVID-19 cases were community transmission (62%) while 38 percent were imported. Last week’s number of COVID-19 cases was the highest weekly total since the end of November 2021 when the government eased social distancing curbs as part of the country’s shift towards living with the coronavirus. While the country is reporting an upward trend in coronavirus cases, the seven-day case count only represented 13 percent of peak COVID infections in mid-October. Brunei has largely kept coronavirus infections at bay after reaching a double-vaccination rate of over 90 percent, but more local and imported cases have emerged since the year 2022 began. The health ministry had earlier attributed the spike in community cases to social gatherings over the holiday season. The jump in Omicron infections across the world has further contributed to the growing number of imported cases, despite the sultanate maintaining its strict 21-month travel restrictions. To date, 19 imported cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant have been detected in Brunei. MoH data also showed an increase in the percentage […]

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Shareen Han

Weaning Brunei off oil

1 week 3 days ago

As a resource-rich country, Brunei Darussalam’s economy depends heavily on developments in the oil and gas sector. The Bruneian authorities have — for the last few decades — recognized the importance of diversifying their economy to build resilience, and had planned since the late 1990s to expand the main economic drivers to non-resource sectors. While Brunei has made progress in economic diversification in recent years, the country remains less diversified than other resource-rich economies, such as the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Malaysia. ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office’s (AMRO) just released annual consultation report on Brunei says that the country will need a strategic plan that broadens its sources of income beyond oil because according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, Brunei’s oil reserves will likely run out in 27 years. The country’s income is derived largely from oil exports. As a high-income economy, Brunei’s diversification strategy should focus on high value-added sectors such as information and communications technology and creative industries, as well as business and financial services. To establish a strategic development plan, the country should formulate policy in terms of coordinating different measures. For example, fiscal expenditures and tax incentives could prioritize providing an expenditure […]

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Ain Bandial

Arabic, religious schools to proceed with second phase of reopening on Jan 17

1 week 4 days ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The religious affairs minister Saturday announced that Year 5-6 religious school pupils and Year 7-9 Arabic school students will be allowed to resume face-to-face learning next week. During the COVID-19 press briefing, YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah DP Hj Awg Othman said the second phase of religious and Arabic school reopening will go ahead on January 17. He said no students tested positive for the coronavirus since schools resumed in-person classes for Year 10 to pre-university students on January 3. In the second stage of school reopening, Year 5-6 pupils in religious schools can attend in-person lessons five times a week. For Year 7-9 students at Arabic schools and Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, face-to-face classes will be conducted four times a week with online lessons held on Saturdays. Other religious and Arabic school students will continue home-based learning. The minister said all returning students will be required to perform antigen rapid tests. Apart from religious and Arabic schools, mainstream schools will also welcome back Year 7-9 students next week as part of the easing of COVID restrictions. Moreover, children aged 3-4 can return to kindergartens, which are limited to 30 percent capacity. […]

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The Scoop

Brunei’s OCS will open military training to foreign cadets

1 week 6 days ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei’s Officer Cadet School (OCS) will soon enroll foreign cadets to train at the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Defence Academy. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Thursday said the move would enhance defence diplomacy with “friendly nations”, particularly with regional partners.  “Opening up this opportunity will not only enhance existing defence relationships, but also raise OCS’s profile and reputation … at the regional and international level,” the monarch said at the annual Sovereign’s Parade. The parade is the culmination of an intensive year-long military training programme for officer recruits of the RBAF. On Thursday, His Majesty commissioned 81 new officers from the school’s twentieth intake.  The sultan said it was vital for the OCS — established in 2008 — to produce top-tier military leadership to safeguard national interests and uphold the Malay Islamic Monarchy. His Majesty also touched on the armed forces’ role in containing the deadly second wave of COVID-19 last year, when military personnel were deployed to assist at vaccination centres, isolation and testing facilities. “Together, the RBAF, the government and non-government agencies played a key role in tackling the spread of COVID-19. I hope that such commendable efforts will continue,” he added.

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Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar

KLEAR Home Appliances opens first retail stores in Brunei 

1 week 6 days ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Bruneian home appliances brand KLEAR opened its first retail stores at Rimba Point and Aman Hills Shopping Centre on Thursday.  KLEAR Marketing Director Hui Ting Wong said KLEAR Home Appliances is a subsidiary of Cuckoo, focusing on innovative products that make people’s lives easier. “We adapt our business model from Cuckoo to bring in good technology and products to customers,” she said in an interview with The Scoop. Among the products available are Hizero Bionic Floor Cleaner, KLEAR Mastercook, KLEAR Titan and KLEAR Undersink Filtration Enhancer. The opening of KLEAR’s first retail stores marked the start of its expansion plans, with the local brand aiming to set up six stores nationwide. “For 2022, we started with the launch of two kiosk style stores. Eventually we want to expand up to six stores nationwide as well as one experience centre where customers can really see the full [range of] products at the flagship store,” Wong added. Klear Mastercook One of the popular products is KLEAR Mastercook — a 10 in 1 appliance that will take cooking to the new level, allowing users to cook, chop, mix, knead, boil, steam, grind, whisk, emulsify, sauté and weigh ingredients. “The 10-in-1 […]

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