Need to build Brunei stock exchange

Minister of Finance II Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman (R) speaking at the 4th day of the 7th State Legislative session, held at the LegCo building, Jalan Kebangsaan.Picture: BT/Zamri Zainal

Sunday, March 6, 2011



Government continue to assess.

MANY Asean countries have their own stock exchange however Brunei is yet to establish one of its own.

This matter was raised during the State Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting yesterday by LegCo member Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin.

"Will the Ministry of Finance take the initiative to build a stock exchange in Brunei, in the future?" asked Pehin Goh.

In response to the question, the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim said the government has, from time to time, assessed the suitability and the need for Brunei to establish its own stock market.

Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman mentioned that the reality of the situation at the moment showed that not many of the local companies would benefit from the stock exchange list as a source of capital to finance their business.

"This is because the overall cost of the capital obtained through the public list equity is high," Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman explained.

Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman further said it appeared to be easier for capable local companies to get their capital through private equity, commercial bank loans or schemes encouraged and funded by the government such as the SME Loan Scheme and Micro Credit Loan Scheme.

He further said that the government was very encouraging towards local companies to continue efforts in strengthening their business in all aspects, especially the level of professionalism, management as well as the technical aspects of the business.

During the LegCo meeting yesterday, Pehin Goh had also raised the issue on debts in Brunei. Pehin Goh said that the second finance minister had mentioned that the people in Brunei owed the government $486.5 million.

Pehin Goh suggested for the collection of debts on energy, water, phone and land tax to be privatised so that any unsettled payments could be dealt in a subtle and discreet manner by giving special discounts to those who pay their debts in cash.

As for payments done in instalments, they should have zero interest if done within a certain amount of time, Pehin Goh added.

"I believe this is a good way to overcome the problem of late payments," said Pehin Goh.

Another suggestion Pehin Goh made was for the government to review the subsidies because he felt that those who needed the subsidies had more right to receive the subsidies.

In reply, Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman said he welcomed any suggestions for improvements to make more effective the government's measures that have been implemented.

He also welcomed any suggestions for the reconsideration and lessening of subsidies.The Brunei Times