Chapter 2. Brunei Darussalam

Brunei acknowledges the importance of regulatory reform in increasing its opportunities at home and abroad. It has also made significant efforts in recent years to make government services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) available and accessible through online one-stop shops. Regular review and evaluation of regulations are undertaken by the government to ensure that these do not deviate from pre-agreed targets or impose specific burdens on citizens or businesses. As a way to enhance regulatory effectiveness, Brunei has focused on improving its civil service by introducing a number of initiatives that aim to improve the governance and management of the public sector. The use of regulatory impact assessments (RIA) has not yet been formally practiced in Brunei; nonetheless, it has proactively used post-implementation reviews to improve the stock of regulations in the country and improve the country’s business environment.


Regulatory context

Wawasan Brunei 2035, the country’s national vision, aims to ensure that by 2035, Brunei Darussalam will be recognised globally for the accomplishments of its well-educated and highly skilled people, high quality of life, and dynamic and sustainable economy. In ensuring the achievement of these goals, the government has developed the Wawasan Brunei 2035 framework, which articulates the national vision into national outcomes, key areas, and key performance indicators that measure the key areas identified. The framework provides guidance to government agencies and bodies in its implementation, including ensuring a modern, independent, accountable and impartial legal system, introducing regulatory frameworks aligned with international best practices, streamlining government procedures and other public services and broadening the participation of stakeholders in the planning and implementation of all aspects of development policies (Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2017[1]).

Within the context of the Wawasan Brunei 2035 framework, support to the private sector in the country is emphasised through providing excellent service delivery and encouraging the use of technology to produce higher output. The growth of local businesses, notably SMEs, is therefore encouraged by improving access to finance, developing infrastructure and incubation centres, encouraging the use of local products and privatisation, and reducing the cost to doing business.

Brunei aims to create a more conducive environment for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by improving the regulatory environment in which they operate. Recent efforts have been focused on improving the ease of doing business. This includes streamlining business processes (e.g. business registration, improving tax applications, etc.) and utilising online tools and websites to broaden the use and participation of these different government services.

Brunei has a favourable environment for trade and foreign investment. The Brunei Economic Development Board has been supporting current and potential foreign investors in navigating the regulatory environment in the country.

The recently established MSME central agency, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), focuses on programmes and projects that promote enterprise growth and development. DARe serves as a facilitator for the different MSME initiatives across government agencies – creating a more co-ordinated approach to addressing specific issues faced by MSMEs.

Focus on improving the regulatory process has likewise been linked to strengthening the civil service through the Civil Service Framework (CSF). The government aims to reform the civil service towards one that is responsive to global change and public expectations.

Brunei has underscored its efforts to focus on new diversification measures to focus on downstream energy and non-oil sector. As an alternative, Brunei is currently focused on developing five industry clusters, namely: 1) halal; 2) innovative technology and creative industry; 3) business services; 4) tourism; and 5) downstream oil and gas. Brunei currently faces a number of issues in expanding its global value chain.

In line with this, the country seeks to strengthen its manufacturing and industrial exports as well as advance its legal and regulatory reform programmes to attract foreign investment and improve strategic industries.

Regulatory governance

Institutional and regulatory setup

Table 2.1. Institutional and regulatory setup in Brunei



State structure

Unitary state

Head of state



The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan is the Head of State and the Prime Minister.

The Supreme executive falls under the authority of the Sultan. The Sultan appoints any number of ministers or deputy ministers who shall be responsible solely to the Sultan for the exercise of executive authority and who shall assist and advise the Sultan in the discharge of the Sultan’s executive authority.

The Sultan is assisted and advised by six councils, namely:

- Council of ministers handles executive matters.

- Privy council, which advises on the appointment of persons to customary ranks, titles, honours and dignitaries.

- Religious council, which advises on religious matters.

- Adat Istiadat council, which advises on matters relating to state custom.

- Legislative council handles legislative matters.

- Council of succession, which is responsible for succession of the throne if the need arises.


Legislative council with 33 appointed members, overseen by the Prime Minister

Legal system

Brunei Darussalam’s legal system is based on the English Common law and Bruneians enjoy the benefit of an independent, fair, and efficient judiciary. The laws of Brunei Darussalam comprise of written judgments and legislation enacted by the Sultan and the legislative council.

Judicial power is placed on the Sultan’s privy council, the supreme court, the intermediate courts, the subordinate courts and the syariah courts.

- The Supreme court comprises the High court and the court of Appeals and has competence over all criminal and civil matters, commercial matters such as bankruptcy and companies winding up, as well as other matters of personal status of non-Muslims.

- The Subordinate courts comprise of the courts of magistrates.

- The Syariah courts consist of the Syariah Appeals court, the Syariah high court, and the Syariah subordinate court. These courts have such jurisdiction, powers, duties and authority as are conferred by the Syariah courts cap (Cap 184) as well as any other written law. These courts have both criminal and civil jurisdiction, under any written law creating criminal offences relating to Islamic family law or conferring to the Syariah high court jurisdiction.

Administrative-territorial structure

4 districts (daerahs) and 38 subdistricts (mukims)

Ministry or agency responsible for SMEs or SME-related issues

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe)

Regulatory oversight body or bodies

Management Services Department (MSD) manages initiatives related to introducing innovation, reforms, and improvements in management and civil service and public service delivery.

Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Steering Committee aims to foster a pro-business environment conducive to economic growth and employment. The EoDB Steering Committee is chaired by the Minister of Energy and Industry and comprises of 14 champion groups from various agencies under the different ministries.

Other support structures within government on regulatory policy

Registry of Companies and Business Names of the Ministry of Finance (ROCBN) is responsible for all business registrations in the country.

Civil Service Reform Committee (JPPA)1 is responsible for ensuring a competent, effective innovative and responsible civil service sector.

Steering Committee for Public Service Delivery (JKPANDU)2 is aimed at addressing issues related to the delivery of public services and to facilitate the co-ordination among relevant agencies.

1. Jawatankuasa Pembaharuan Perkhidmatan Awam

2. Jawantankuasa Pandu Pemberian Perkhidmatan Kepada Orang Ramai oleh Agensi-agensi Kerajaan

Regulatory process

All laws can be drafted in three ways via the Sultan, the legislature, or the ministry or statutory body.

Each ministry is responsible for drafting their policy and the preparation of their legislation is prepared in co-ordination with the Attorney General’s Chamber. The relevant ministry would also consult stakeholders for inputs on their policy considerations, where necessary. In all cases, the Sultan provides the final decision over any proposed legislation. Regulations related to SMEs also go through a similar process to other business regulations.

Business laws and regulations in Brunei

MSMEs comprise almost 97% of the private sector businesses in Brunei. MSMEs in Brunei are defined by the number of employees engaged in the enterprise, which are 100 employees or less. These are categorised accordingly:

Table 2.2. Classification of SMEs in Brunei


Number of employees







Source: Information provided by the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Definition of MSMEs for Brunei Darussalam, 2015.

There is no single SME regulatory policy in Brunei. All SMEs are subject to business laws unless otherwise specified.

Table 2.3. Business-related laws and regulations in Brunei



Banking and Credit Laws

Banking Order 2006

Islamic Banking Order 2008

Bankruptcy and Collateral Laws

Insolvency Order 2016

Bankruptcy Act (Cap 67)

Commercial and Company Laws

Companies Act (Cap 39); amended 2017

Labour Law

Workmen’s compensation Act (Cap 74); Trade Union Act (Cap 128);

Trade Dispute Act (Cap 129); Employment Information (Cap 99), Employment Agencies Order 2004, Employment Order 2009

Land and Building Laws

Land Code (Cap 40);

Building Control Order 2014

Securities Laws

Hire Purchase Order 2006

Customs Law

Customs Order 2006

Excise Duty Order 2006

Source: Information provided by the Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2018.

Business registration in Brunei can be carried out within a day through the Registry of Companies and Business Names of the Ministry of Finance (ROCBN) website. The Ministry of Finance provides a step-by-step guide on how to use the ROCBN system (Ministry of Finance Brunei, n.d.[2]). Interested entrepreneurs or companies can register their account by filling out the application and uploading the relevant documents. There are minimum requirements for registering a business: for all types of business (sole proprietorship, partnership or company), the registrant must be at least 18 years of age and must not have been declared bankrupt, unless it has received court or official receiver’s approval (Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2018[3]).

Table 2.4. Registration requirements in Brunei


Sole proprietorship




A business owned by one person

Registered under Business Names Act, Chapter 92

A business firm or organisation with two or more business partners

Registered under Business Names Act, Chapter 92

A legal entity, separate and distinct from its shareholders and directors

Incorporated under Companies Act, Chapter 39

Registration requirements

● At least 18 years of age

● Brunei citizens and permanent residents only

● Undischarged bankrupts cannot manage a business without court or official receiver’s approval

● At least 18 years of age

● Minimum 2 directors (with at least one resident from Brunei)

● At least 2 shareholders

● Undischarged bankrupts cannot manage a business without court or official receiver’s approval

Setup fee

BND 30 (registration fee)

BND 300 (incorporation fee)

Continuity of the business entity

As long as owners are alive and desire to continue the business

Subject to partnership agreement

Perpetual succession unless wound up

Closure of business

By owner’s cessation

By partners’ cessation or dissolution

Winding up or striking off

Source: Ministry of Finance Brunei (n.d.), Register of Companies and Business Names: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the ROCBN System

Once the application has been approved, the company or business will receive a certificate of registration (for business names) or certificate of incorporation (for companies) within one working day. Depending on the type of business activity, the entrepreneur or company would need to acquire specific licences or permits from other authorities or agencies, hire employees, acquire infrastructure for office space and continuing operations.

A recent reform undertaken by Brunei to simplify its business process is focused on the country’s Companies Act, Chapter 39. Since 2014, the Registry of Companies and business names division of the Ministry of Finance has actively reviewed the act to further cater and adapt to the changing business needs and create an environment conducive to business and investment.

The Companies Act (Amendment) Order 2017 has made amendments to remove the requirements to upload a Notice of Situation of Registered Office form, as well as a Returns of Allotment of Shares, form during incorporation. The new amendments also removed the fee for name reservations (BND 5) and fixed the overall incorporation fee to BND 300.

The Stamp Act (Amendment) Order 2017 has also made changes to remove the requirement to stamp Memorandum and Articles of Association as well as share certificates for the purpose of incorporation.

Highlights of regulatory opportunities and challenges to support SMEs

Regulatory delivery

Civil Service Framework

There is a strong emphasis on regulatory delivery in the government and improving the way government officials carry out their tasks and provide public services.

The PMO has assigned the Management Services Department (MSD) as the focal point for handling complaints or grievances related to public service delivery. The main objectives are: 1) to enable the public to channel complaints on government services; 2) to enable the public to evaluate the effectiveness of the service recovery system and public complaints handled by respective government agencies; and 3) to ensure accountability of public services contribution towards the enhancement of integrity, credibility, and the government’s image.

The Civil Service Framework (CSF) identifies the following themes, goals and strategies to strengthen the public sector’s capacity to effectively deliver programmes and policies (bin Haji Mohd Daud, 2017[7]):

Table 2.5. Strengthening institutional development through the civil service in Brunei




Leadership excellence

1A. Produce competent, capable and quality leaders that steer towards civil service excellence

S1. Developing and managing the future leaders of the civil service

S2. Sharpening the performance and accountability of leaders

Organisational performance and productivity

2A. Ensure efficient and effective work processes that facilitate socio-economic development

2B. Ensure organisational manpower capability in supporting productivity delivery

S3. Implementing new models to deliver public services

S4. Moving towards digital services

S5. Improving work/project delivery

S6. Fill skills gaps and match resources to government priorities

S7. Promoting a culture of excellence and positive mind shift

Pro-business and public environment

3A. Implement policies and regulatory reforms that encourage economic activities

3B. Streamline government procedures and regulation to enable prompt decision making and provision of high-quality services

3C. Align policies towards a conducive private sector environment

S8. Conducive business and public environment

S9. Improving efficiency and transparency

S10. Enhancing labour mobility

Source: bin Haji Mohd Daud, A. (2017), Sistem Pengurusan Prestasi Baru Perkhidmatan Awam Brunei

In 2015, the organisational grading performance assessment programme through star ratings was introduced as a way to improve organisational performance within the government. This assessment acts as a diagnostic tool to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in managing the public service as well as to recognise government agencies through star rating. The prescriptive measures from this programme aim to assist in the improvement of the performance, quality and productivity among civil service agencies.

Government officials and agencies are also guided by a number of tools and guidelines, which are described in the following box:

Box 2.1. Improving regulatory delivery in Brunei

Brunei has developed a number of manuals and initiatives as a way to improve regulatory delivery in the country. Many of these emphasise on the importance of pursuing best practices to improve governance and management at the civil service level, which includes a civil service vision for the 21st century, Rukun Akhlak (moral pillars), work ethics, among others. However, the main tools and strategies used are outlined accordingly:

The implementation of Work Procedures Manual (WPM)

The Work Procedures Manual was originally an innovation created by a working committee from Public Service Department which joined the Civil Service Excellence Awards (Anugerah Cemerlang Perkhidmatan Awam, ACPA). A WPM is developed by each ministry or public agency that carries out and offers public services. The implementation of the WPM is monitored and facilitated continuously, such as through briefings, workshops, and consultations, by the Management Services Department (MSD) of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The WPM document consists of eight main features: 1) background of a ministry or department; 2) objective of a ministry or department; 3) organisational chart of a ministry or department and unit or section; 4) core functions of a ministry or department; 5) work activity; 6) work process; 7) workflow chart; and 8) forms or referrals used as circulars or statutes.

Monitoring the achievement of Tekad Pemedulian Orang Ramai (TPOR) or the client’s charter

The TPOR was officially introduced in September 1995. In May 1997, the Sultan mandated all ministries and departments to provide or formulate their own TPOR in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Management Services Department of the Prime Minister’s Office. The TPOR is a statement or written commitment by a department on the service or product standard to be delivered to the public. It is a pledge of service delivery in line with the standard or capability of the department. The goal of the TPOR is to emphasise the importance of customer care and efforts to improve public service delivery.

Efforts that have been carried out to improve the quality of customer services through each ministry include:

  • an audit according to the current client’s charter

  • publication of the client’s charter and WPM guidelines book, and

  • briefings/seminars/workshops/consultations on client’s charter, WPM and business process re-engineering (BPR).

Streamlining processes through business process re-engineering (BPR)

The Business Process Re-engineering is one of the initiatives under the Civil Service Framework. BPR involves re-modelling and streamlining existing processes or procedures to improve the quality of provisions of services to the public or stakeholders. This is done by reviewing the different business processes and eliminating overly bureaucratic processes and any work duplications to improve the efficiency of a service and increase organisational productivity.

Improving frontline delivery through the Customer Focus Survey (Kaji Selidik Tupian Pelanggan, KSTP)

Introduced in 2002, KSTP aims to: 1) identify customer satisfaction levels; 2) know customer’s perception towards the quality of service delivery in government agencies; and 3) gather feedback and solution on how to improve the quality and productivity in the service delivery.

Instilling the Delivery Approach

The Prime Minister’s Office has practised and championed the delivery approach since its inception in 2014. The approach has been installed throughout all government ministries and key government-linked companies (GLCs) by advocating programmes such as the Brunei Top 100 Leaders (B100) Programme, which aims to develop the capacity of Brunei’s future leaders in adopting the delivery approach towards achieving the Brunei Vision 2035 goals.

Furthermore, the delivery approach stresses the importance of setting targets and building trajectories utilising delivery plans to prioritise impactful actions; identifying delivery chains to map out lines of communication; implementing capacity reviews to assess a system’s state of delivery; setting regular routines; and using data to monitor its performance against targets towards ensuring the irreversibility of the delivery culture in the system.

Source: Information provided by the Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2017.

Enforcement and inspections

There is currently no published cross-sectoral policy that guides enforcement and inspection in Brunei. Each ministry holds autonomous sanctioning powers and is responsible for their own inspection authorities, as guided by relevant order and acts.

Regulatory compliance

Compliance with intellectual property

Brunei has a strong and effective intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement system in place. Nonetheless, the government strives to improve the delivery of this service. Brunei has established its own independent patent system, which is in line with a number of international frameworks such as the patent co-operation treaty (PCT) and the Madrid protocol for the international registration of marks.

A number of legal protections are offered to help protect IPR, especially for SMEs in Brunei. Brunei’s Intellectual Property Office is well connected with ASEAN’s Intellectual Property portal and is active in the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC), which is a patent work-sharing programme among connected ASEAN member states.

The recent amendments to the Copyright Order 1999 have enhanced powers for enforcement of copyright as well as increased penalties for copyright offences. It further allows the Attorney General’s fiat to allow private enforcement of copyright infringement.

Administrative simplification

Administrative simplification efforts can be carried out on an ad hoc basis by respective ministries or agencies. Between 2015 and 2017, Brunei Darussalam had implemented a total of 10 reforms focused on improving the ease of doing business (Box 2.2). These have been done in specific areas such as improving the amount of time and procedures to incorporating a company to obtaining a construction permit as well as providing alternative mediation for companies facing difficulties in meeting its financial obligations. The evaluation process is data-based and allows expedient re-alignment of any regulations or reforms should they deviate from or slow down the process of achieving pre-agreed targets.

Box 2.2. Improving the ease of doing business in Brunei

The EoDB steering committee, chaired by the Minister of Energy and Industry and composed of fourteen champion agencies from various relevant ministries, is responsible for identifying and monitoring the implementation of reform towards improving the country’s business climate in line with international best practices and ensuring the reforms implemented by relevant ministries have benefited its end users. Each champion group within the committee is tasked with a specific reform or issue related to the different aspects of doing business.

The steering committee convenes every month and serves as a platform for each champion group to report the progress of their comprehensive reform agenda, including the status of their action plans, implementation, and performance of key business processes. It also provides them with the possibility to share their challenges and seek support from other champion groups. The evaluation of each group is backed by relevant data, statistics, and other direct feedback from agencies.

In March 2017, the Steering Committee further stepped up this engagement process by expanding its consultation to private individuals and professional associations comprising of legal practitioners, accountants, architects, contractors and logistics companies. The insights received from these stakeholders will be used as a basis to design the different reform strategies.

Once new reforms have been implemented, the EoDB steering committee conducts a dialogue session followed by the publication of a press release on their website and local newspapers to ensure that relevant stakeholders are informed and understand the objectives of the reform. These socialisation activities are regularly monitored by the EoDB secretariat, the Department of Energy and Industry.

Source: Information provided by the Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2017.

In 2015, a review on business licences and permits was conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs. As a result of this thorough review, selected low-risk businesses no longer require a licence to operate.

Furthermore, the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), together with the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Action and Support Centre, offers a fast-track system that allows investors to obtain permits, licences, and approvals as well as undertake foreign labour recruitment. Each investor has a dedicated liaison officer that supports the investor in account management and all other inquiries and processes.


Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) and other government agencies have worked closely to set up the country’s premier one-stop-shop for all businesses processes. The Business Support Centre (BSC) brings together 13 agencies providing various services and involved in the different steps of the business cycle: starting, growing, and running a business. The website offers information on both general services and specific services such as import and export, permit applications, and payment services (Annex 2.A) (Government of Brunei Darussalam, n.d.[5]). Interested businesses can also convey their feedback and inquiries to the centre and are addressed by a representative from DARe.

Brunei has made concerted efforts within the different ministries in the recent years to make government services available online as a way to improve or simplify the regulatory environment for businesses. For example, the central monetary authority of Brunei has been developing policies and plans to create an interoperable market infrastructure and system for electronic retail payments and other innovative payment instruments, as a way to shift from paper-based to electronic-based payments. Other examples of these online business processes include:

  • An online registration of companies and business names through the Online Registry of Companies and Business names (

  • An online payment of contributions to an employee’s government mandated trust fund (Employee’s Trust Fund and Supplemental Contributory Pension Fund) (

  • The Brunei Darussalam National Single Window, which allows forwarding agents and registered traders to apply for permits, declarations and other customs procedures.

  • The establishment of an online tax filing system through the Systems for Tax Administration and Revenue Services (STARS) (

  • Online payment for government services through the centralised e-payment gateway (ePG).

Regulatory quality management

Performance monitoring

The costs and savings resulting from pursuing administrative reforms are monitored according to a performance-based budgeting system introduced by the Ministry of Finance. This system helps facilitate the measurement of administrative costs of policies as it allocates expenditure according to the “programmes” undertaken in the government.

Ex post evaluation

There is currently no dedicated or special agency in Brunei that is responsible for the oversight of regulatory reforms. That is, the agency responsible for undertaking reviews of the regulatory processes and the use of good regulatory practice tools within the whole-of-government. Nonetheless, regulatory reform efforts are often undertaken by specific agencies, committees or ministries within a particular jurisdiction.

Ex post and ex ante evaluations of regulations are conducted by respective ministries and agencies in the country. Regulations are reviewed prior to implementation and post-implementation by the Civil Service Reform Committee. Post-implementation reviews are done periodically, but some are also demand-driven. The latter type of review is conducted based on issues raised in the client’s charter audit report, public complaints, findings from customer satisfaction survey reports and the public sector performance grading programme. Reviews can be undertaken for a single regulation or for a whole policy sector or area.

The Prime Minister’s Office carries out periodic reviews on the performance of the different government agencies and the implementation of policies and programmes; for example, on improving the ease of doing business in the country. This is done in collaboration with the Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee.

As a way to further identify issues faced by businesses and citizens, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) regularly convenes meetings with permanent secretaries from all ministries. These meetings provide the opportunity for ministries to raise any projects, reforms, or regulations in any stage of formulation or implementation for discussion and wider deliberation. This cross-sector and inter-ministry dialogue, therefore, provides the concerned ministry with possible solutions to be considered to improve effective implementation of a programme or policy.

A status report of the key performance indicators (KPI) of the national vision, Wawasan Brunei 2035, is permanently included in these regular meetings with the PMO, which allows for its continuous monitoring. Special sessions are also held periodically to provide an opportunity for more detailed discussion on efforts towards achieving the national vision: highly educated and skilled people, a high standard of living, and a dynamic and sustainable economy.

Regulatory impact assessment

Brunei acknowledges the importance of the use of evidence-based policy-making, including the use of regulatory impact assessments (RIA). RIA is not formally practised in Brunei and there is currently no regulatory oversight body implementing its application; nonetheless, the government has been very proactive in collecting feedback from different stakeholders in the public and private sphere to understand the impact of policies or reforms that have been implemented.

Regulatory database

The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for consolidating all laws that have been passed. Since 2009, all consolidated documents have been made public through the Legislation Online website.

Stakeholder engagement

Public consultations have been carried out regularly, notably after an administrative reform has been passed, as a way for stakeholders to be informed and to provide feedback or ask questions concerning a specific reform. These exchanges are often documented and some findings or results are published or accessible online. At present, there are no mandatory requirements or unified frameworks for consultation. Each ministry or agency utilises its own tools and methods to undertake consultation exercises with relevant stakeholders. For example, recently in March 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs sought feedback from different business owners affected by upcoming reforms on labour regulations.

Under the Civil Service Framework initiative, the Management Services Department (MSD) of the Prime Minister is finalising a set of guidelines for public engagement (Government of Brunei Darussalam, forthcoming[6]). The aim is to promote a more transparent and caring government in order to strengthen public confidence and encourage more engagement in future government activities. The guideline identifies five different types of public engagement, which are flexible and may be used at any stage of the regulatory-making process.

Box 2.3. Five types of public engagement in Brunei
  1. 1. Inform – the most limited form of engagement, which aims to provide the public with balanced and objective information.

  2. 2. Consult – aims to obtain public input and feedback on proposed policies, programmes, alternatives or decisions to improve outcomes.

  3. 3. Involve – the recommended form of engagement, which aims to work directly with the public to understand their views, opinions and concerns while sharing ideas of decision-makers.

  4. 4. Collaborate – the government works closely with the public to develop solutions or alternatives to address specific issues.

  5. 5. Empower – the highest level of engagement in which final decision is placed in the hands of the public.

Source: Government of Brunei Darussalam (forthcoming), Guidelines on Public Engagement, Government of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawa.

The guideline also aims to introduce a 7 step-by-step process to successful engagement:

Figure 2.1. Seven steps to a successful engagement in Brunei

Source: Government of Brunei Darussalam (forthcoming), Guidelines on Public Engagement, Government of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan.

Since March 2016, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) has been organising regular dialogues with the local business community to better understand and collaborative address the challenges they face in business development or operation (Box 2.4).

Box 2.4. Reaching out to local businesses in Brunei

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) regularly organises dialogues with the business community. DARe dialogues have covered a wide range of topics. These organised dialogues are categorised into three categories:

  1. 1. Issue-based dialogues or focus groups. These dialogues focus on a specific process or regulation that has an impact on the way an entrepreneur initiates or manages a business.

  2. 2. Opportunity-based dialogues. These dialogues share potential business opportunities in different industry sectors to current or aspiring entrepreneurs. Guest speakers from an industry or sector are invited to provide insights into their experiences.

  3. 3. Group-based dialogues. These dialogues invite specific groups from the business community or a particular organisation in order to understand the issues affecting them.

In addition to regular dialogues with the business community, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) has also been using different platforms to engage with other government agencies and the private sector, including:

  • Focus group engagement sessions. These sessions are organised with smaller groups of individuals from a specific industry or sector. These sessions allow for detailed discussions on issues faced within a specific industry and provide an opportunity for DARe and concerned government agencies to provide guidance and solutions.

  • Enterprise Open Day (EOD). These are events run by DARe to help promote the Business Support Centre, including the Business Help Desk in which the local business community is able to log in any issues faced related to their businesses. In 2016, DARe has organised EODs in all four districts of the country.

  • Regular board meetings. More than half of the individuals in DARe’s board of governance represent the private sector. Board meetings also often serve as a platform for both the private and public sector to discuss issues concerning the local business environment.

Source: Information provided by the Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2017.


In Brunei, each regulatory process has its own appeals process, as included in their relevant acts and orders. For example, the recently established Income Tax Board of Review, which is aimed at facilitating the administration and operation of taxation in the country, also introduces a new process of hearing, examining and settlement of objection for cases from companies against the income tax assessor. To ensure a transparent and fair system of administration, the case will be reviewed by an independent body and then considered by the board for resolution.

SME linkage policies

Engaging the private sector

DARe has a number of ongoing initiatives that are catered to accelerate the growth of small businesses and eventually prepare them for export. Among the different programmes available for MSMEs, include:

  • A Boot Camp Programme, which is an intensive, targeted capacity building programme held over a period of one to three months where DARe brings mentors from different industries and sectors to share their experience and train participating MSMEs, including issues relating to regulations and other business processes. There are currently two boot camps available for MSMEs:

    • Start-up boot camp for businesses that can scale and export rapidly.

    • Microbusiness boot camp to help micro businesses remain sustainable.

  • An Industry Business Academy (IBA), a learning platform for SMEs that offers a number of modules covering core aspects of running a business throughout different levels of complexity. The academy also offers specific modules and training for individuals on various business practices. A number of training sessions have been organised by IBA to help SMEs to be export ready, which include topics relevant to the implementation of product quality standards as well as specific steps and processes to follow in order to export.


Part of developing key industries in Brunei is setting up new infrastructure that serves as incubation for new or emerging industries and start-ups. Brunei has recently initiated the first phase of a halal industrial park and the development of the bio-innovation corridor that aims to facilitate manufacturing and exporting of halal and non-halal products.

Launched in 2008, iCentre serves as Brunei’s start-up incubation programme, which provides entrepreneurs with a co-working space and workshops and other knowledge development programmes to help raise the market value of SME products. Other programmes and activities under the iCentre include a capacity building development programme (industry business academy), a 100-day accelerator programme (start-up boot camp programme), sharing and networking sessions, and other events that showcase businesses and entrepreneurship (BEDB Brunei Darussalam, 2014[8]).


The government encourages MSMEs to grow and export by linking micro, small, and medium enterprises with potential partners and clients locally and abroad. Customs regulations in Brunei are compliant with the agreed World Trade Organization (WTO) valuation code. Inspection of imported goods mostly only occurs once the duties have been collected. The inspection of goods is also carried out with the presence of the importer or importer’s agent. The importer or agent will be responsible for opening, weighting, sorting and marking the goods as directed by the customs officer. Examination is carried out to the satisfaction of the customs officer, who is also responsible for taking samples of goods if needed.

Brunei Darussalam’s National Single Window (NSW) for Trade Facilitation has been in place since 2013. The country’s common platform for electronic submission and exchange of customs data has been integrated into the ASEAN National Single Window (ASW) since 2017.


  • Introduce a systematic, whole-of-government review process, building on the efforts undertaken from the ease of doing business exercise.

  • Maintain the development and implementation of e-government services. Ensure that new business-related services offered online continue to be streamlined and linked to the platform.

  • Formalise the use of RIA and gradually introduce its use through pilot tests across government agencies. Initial tests on the use and implementation of RIA can be applied in specific issues where the government and the public perceive the most burden e.g. specific industries or sectors.

  • Build capacity within the government to undertake evidence policy-making when drafting new regulations. Align these capacity building efforts with existing activities focused on improving the quantity and quality of regulations, e.g. pre- and post-implementation reviews.

  • Ensure engagement of stakeholders throughout the whole regulatory process. Encourage participation in the initial stages of the reform process, maintain a meaningful and dynamic engagement during the drafting and analysis process, and consider informing stakeholders as to how their feedback was reflected in the reform of a regulation.

  • Consider developing a framework and initiatives that improve inspection and enforcement, as a way to strengthen regulatory delivery efforts.


[8] BEDB Brunei Darussalam (2014), Assistance Schemes for Business Start-ups and SMEs,

[7] bin Haji Mohd Daud, A. (2017), Sistem Pengurusan Prestasi Baru Perkhidmatan Awam Brunei Darussalam,

[3] Government of Brunei Darussalam (2018), businessBN Portal - Register Your Business, Government of Brunei Darussalam, (accessed on 16 November 2017).

[1] Government of Brunei Darussalam (2017), businessBN Portal - Wawasan Brunei 2035, (accessed on 16 November 2017).

[5] Government of Brunei Darussalam (n.d.), businessBN Portal - Business Support Centre, Government of Brunei Darussalam, (accessed on 3 October 2017).

[6] Government of Brunei Darussalam (forthcoming), Guidelines on Public Engagement, Government of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan.

[2] Ministry of Finance Brunei (n.d.), Register of Companies and Business Names: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the ROCBN System,

[4] Ministry of Finance Brunei (n.d.), Website, (accessed on 16 November 2017).

Annex 2.A.
Annex Table 2.A.1. Services provided by the Brunei Business Support Centre

Service provided

Description of service provided

Responsible agency

Starting a business

Registration of a business

Advice on process relating to the registration of company and business names

Registry of Companies and Business Names, Ministry of Finance

Setting up a co-operative

1. Advice on the setup of co-operatives

2. Receive inquiries, feedback and issues with regard to co-operative

Cottage Industry and Co-operatives Division, Ministry of Energy and Industry

Beauty and Health Establishment Licence

1. Receive, review and renew licences for health and beauty establishments

2. Register e-Darussalam accounts

3. Update data on OneBiz system

Ministry of Home Affairs

Employing foreign workers

1. Receive and process applications for patent, trademark and industrial design

2. Advice on IP-related matters

3. Searches of the Register books

Brunei Intellectual Property Office

Getting a location

Planning permission

Advice on planning permission applications

Town and Country Planning, Ministry of Development

Construction, occupation and signage permits

Advise and assist on submission of applications for:

1. Approval plans of building works

2. Permit to carry out building works (Form C)

3. Occupation Permit (OP)

4. Billboard Signage

Authority for Building and Construction Industry (ABCi), Ministry of Development

Land Services via Land Application and Registration Information System (LARIS)

1. Transfer of land ownership

2. Change of land special conditions

3. Land charge

4. Land lease

5. Extend expired leased land

Land Department, Ministry of Development

Industrial land and industrial complexes

Advice and submission of applications for industrial land and complexes

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe)

Commercial electrical connection

1. Online application

2. Advice on how to get electricity connection

Department of Electrical Services, Ministry of Energy and Industry

Commercial water connection

Advice on how to apply for commercial water meter online

Department of Water Services, Ministry of Development

Running a business

Trade fairs

1. Providing advisory on the online process for application of Trade Fairs

2. Processing and approval of licence to organise trade fairs (including road shows related to trade, local and international trade expos, garage or car boot sales, and wedding fairs)

International Affairs Division, Ministry of Energy and Industry

Certificate of Origin and Tariff Advisory

1. Advice on how to get tariff exemption or reduction under different Free Trade Agreements

2. Application for Certificate of Origin

3. Approval of Certificate of Origin issued or received

Certificate of Origin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Import and export

1. Advice on import and export procedures, tariff classification and other customs matters

2. Receiving, processing and approving customs declaration for preferential tariff treatment

3. Trade registration

4. Check on customs declaration status

Royal Customs and Excise Department, Ministry of Finance

General services

Business help desk

1. Log-in business-related issues and inquiries

2. Information on DARe events and activities

3. General advice on BSC

4. Receive industrial land applications

5. Activate e-Darussalam accounts

Darussalam Enterprise

Self-inquiry and dispute resolution

1. Self-inquiry reports

2. Dispute resolution service

Credit Bureau, Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam

Miscellaneous online applications and payment of services

Receive and process payments for:

1. Health and Beauty establishment licence

2. Billboard signage

3. Carpark

4. Public Entertainment

5. Water

6. Electricity

7. Construction permit ba/form c/op/pp

8. Endorsement of Jawi Scripts

9. Investment incentives

OneBiz, Ministry of Energy and Industry

Source: Government of Brunei Darussalam (n.d.), businessBN Portal - Business Support Centre, Government of Brunei Darussalam, (accessed 3 October 2017).