Brunei is an independent Sultanate, gaining independence from Britain in 1984. Brunei can boast of a wealthy and prosperous economy, with investment ventures from both domestic and foreign entrepreneurship. Brunei has a population of approximately 46,000 people. The Brunei/Muara District is the hub and center of all government and business activities.
Brunei is known to have ultra conservative economic policies, which are said to have insulated the nations from the impact of the 2008-2009 global crises. Blessed with at least another 25-30 years reserve of oil and natural gas products, Brunei is the world’s third largest producer of crude oil and fourth largest producer of liquefied natural gas. The economy of Brunei is heavily dependent on and driven by the revenues generated from these products. Brunei exports its petroleum products to several nations including Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and India. It imports come from China, the US and ASEAN. The oil and gas companies in Brunei are one of the largest employers in the Brunei sultanate.
The economy of the country however, will follow the pendulum swing of the oil market, with no guarantee of growth as Brunei’s revenue is reliant on oil prices, and an economic growth that will fluctuate with market trends. Hence the country’s consistent drive to expand the country’s revenue base.
The Islamic sultanate nation is within a short flight from Hong Kong, Singapore and other busy ports, and as a result, the country’s tourism sector continues to grow and develop to the point where it now contributes over 20% of the GDP. A vast portion of Brunei of the country is tropical rainforests teeming with exotic flora and fauna. Eco tourism is now a key marketing segment for Brunei and intended to generate revenue for the independent state, but though the eco-tourism venture is progressing, the overall impact on the economic diversification directive is going to be limited.
In addition to eco tourism and gas oil exports, the country engages in agricultural investment to assist with the reduction of the food import bill, such as husbandry and cattle farming and egg production, fishing and aquaculture.
The Brue Sultanate have also boarded the investment wagon, attempting to capture a part of the offshore financial services market, promoting the nation as an international investment destination. The government policies on promoting Brunei Darussalam and stimulating the growth, expansion and development of the economy through the financial services, may just be working considering the nation is having some success in doing so focusing on Islamic banking. Despite the small land areas, the Sultanate of Brunei is serviced by a large number of Islamic and foreign banks. As a result interest in trading on the (sukok) market, offshore banking and offshore company incorporation is an emerging sector in the Brunei financial services market.