Agro-tech park hopes to attract more foreign direct investment

Agro-tech park hopes to attract more foreign direct investment

20th August, 2012

THE establishment of the Brunei Agro-Technology Park (ATP) as a “one-stop shop” is hoped to attract more foreign direct investment (FDIs) into the Sultanate, particularly in the field of agro-technology, said Minister of Industry and Primary Resources yesterday.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam (R) takes a closer look at a model of the Agro-Technology Park while being briefed by Agriculture Director Hjh Normah Suria Hayati PJDSM DSU (Dr) Hj Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri during the opening of the Agriculture and Agrifood Expo 2009 at the Tungku Agricultural Development Area in this file photo. Picture: BT/Ubaidillah Masli

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that bringing in FDIs is the current challenge with the lack of an integrated decision and policy making system.

He explained that the existence of the agro-tech park as a “one-stop” industrial community will result in faster decision-making and encourage transparency in business application process and in the long run, spur FDIs.

“(The park will be like) single authority like Sungai Liang Authority (SLA) where everything is sorted out and done by one agency. Not by too many agencies,” the minister told reporters yesterday following a contract signing which marked the beginning of a consultancy project for the park located in Kampung Tungku.

“Once we establish the park, the positive things are already there, hopefully they will come with all the attractions (available facilities at the park),” he said.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Gary Ho, Managing Director of SQW China Limited, the appointed project consultant, said that the “one-stop shop” will make the whole system work in an effective manner.

“That’s just not on the logistics, that will cover business license application and how to set up a joint-venture here even if I want to bring in my FDI into the country, we have to make sure that comes in a legitimate way”, he said.

He added that the park must ensure that the “the system is there ready for the money to come in”.

“Some of the good examples exist in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and possibly in Mauritius. They have this one stop shop system which has been proven to be important to the success of the development of the business including the agrotech park,” Ho explained.

He said that stakeholders in the project were continuously working out the differences in various ministerial policies in order to come up with a seamless integrated system designed for the success of the agrotech park.

“We are moving into that direction. So far what we can see, MIPR and BEDB are supportive of this. So I think in terms of the likelihood of success, I think it is on a high side,” he said.

He said that the “senior government officers” want to see an improvement in the system and “are keen to come into this one-stop shop solution”.

He also spoke of the importance of overcoming logistics challenges which might have discouraged foreign investments in the past.

“That is important because the FDI will come in because there is a good market potential here. But more importantly is to create a sustainable business environment, you have to make sure that you can go in and out effectively,” he said.

He said Brunei must have efficient logistics policies in order to avoid hiccups in arrangement.

“So when they (foreign investors) come in, they have to make sure that the air, land and sea logistics are efficient. That is one area our team will look into very closely to make sure the system is efficient,” the managing director said.

Source: The Brunei Times