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Ministry seeks slow, steady Brunei-Guangxi venture
Publication Date : 06-09-2013
The Bruneian Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is not aiming to make the Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor (BGEC) a fast-tracked, high-speed growth venture, but instead is looking to shape a slow and steady project.
That is the picture painted by YB Minister Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, in an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times on Wednesday in Qinzhou, a southern coastal city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
"We want to start small so that when some kind of problem comes up we can focus and tackle it, then slowly we expand," said the minister.
"We want to do it the Brunei way, slow and steady."
There has so far been no time frame set for when the BGEC will take off. The minister explained that as the proposal had just been given to the Guangxi government, it was necessary to wait for feedback from the Chinese before making the next move.
"We want to have a dedicated mission (for the Economic Corridor), rather than going during the China-Asean Expo period where everyone is busy as there are a lot of people and things to be discussed."
The minister said to get the ball rolling attention would be paid to one or two pilot projects.
"We want a dedicated mission to look at specific opportunities and what proposals they come back with, and hopefully from there, we can work out some small pilot projects to start out with, in agriculture and food production. The idea is to start small and stay focused," said YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya.
"There are so many projects already going on between Brunei and Guangxi, in rice plantation, oysters, but they never pick up to the level of a commercial or production stage.
"For oysters, we had the proposal but there was no follow-up, and for rice, one group has started (the project) but they have gone back (to Guangxi), and there is no follow-up from there.
"There is also a businessman signing an agreement today (Wednesday) to build an agricultural industrial park," added the minister
Brunei's Asia Enterprise signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday with Guangxi's Ming Ming Agriculture Co Ltd to build an agricultural industrial park in Brunei. The park is estimated to cost B$4 million (US$3 billion).
Asked why Bruneian businesses should consider investing in Guangxi, the minister cited financial incentives provided by the Chinese central government as something Bruneian businesses should look into.
"For Guangxi, there are incentives provided by the central government. They provide funds to help develop Guangxi, and this is something that Brunei businesses can try to tap into," said Pehin Dato Hj Yahya.
"Of course on our side, we always encourage our businesses to set their sights on expanding, and they (Brunei businesses) are always welcome to look for us."
The minister was in Guangxi from Monday to yesterday to attend the CAEXPO in Nanning. The CAEXPO was opened by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday. It ends today.