The Asia-Inc Roundtable on Economic Diversification

by Reedz on June 5, 2008

Pics taken at The Economic Diversification Roundtable which was jointly organised by The Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies and Asia Inc Forum, partnered by HSBC, Total and Alcoa. The roundtable looked at key findings and recommendations from two consultants; Mr. Manu Bhaskaran (an old friend whom I last met at another high powered forum in Langkawi)  from Centennial Asia Advisors Pte Ltd, Singapore and Dr. Mark Crosby, Melbourne Business School, Australia.

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Dr Mark Cosby, one of the researchers presenting his findings.
Check out the statement in the chart… – pic courtesy of CSPS

The roundtable delved into the problems hampering Bruneiโ€™s economic diversification progress. Both researchers had a consensus in their findings; highlighting the problem of mindsets, bureaucracy and public sector reform which include red tape, expertise proportion in the public sector, salaries and benefit reduction.

In a nutshell, both researchers called for more aggressive efforts to develop human capital to ensure a high percentage of the work force entering tertiary or professional fields and a developed entrepreneurship education to support diversification efforts. They also emphasized the importance of finding the balance between providing the necessary level of government service provision, while allowing for an enlarged private sector, both in terms of output produced and employment provided. These changes will also require a restructuring of Bruneiโ€™s public sector to avoid duplication and give greater accountability to government departments and senior public servants.

The session was a closed-door one but my take home points from the roundtable were: Clarity of purpose, empowerment of decision makers, and an enabling legal framework are the key ingredients for the successful diversification of our economy. More about the roundtable here.

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Rogue economist June 5, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Personally I think the main ingredient for Brunei’s successful diversification is the WILL, followed by the strategy: Put money where the mouth is.

JS June 6, 2008 at 3:47 am

Personally i think like all other intiatives that makes an idea become successful lacks sustainability. All the ingredient is there except endurance which is the hardest ,not to mention innovation and improvisation which is the next phase in any idea leading to a concept.

Which is why most business fail to continue despite having a good idea/product/service.

Badin June 6, 2008 at 8:03 am

Itโ€™s all about attitude…

ARB June 6, 2008 at 8:47 am

put national interest above and beyond all personal interests………Utopian but real.

Abdullah June 6, 2008 at 11:51 am

Dunno lah bro.. too much talk lah on diversification.. bangas sudah.. we want to see more money spent on actions than on these kind of forums..

SMARTER Dad June 6, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Its just that who are you on the seat ??? Probably the ignition key is not the right interest

Abdullah June 7, 2008 at 11:25 am

Who is Dato Timothy referring to when he summarised the 3 points? is it the cabinet level? higher than cabinet? he said when there is clarity it was easier for the respective authorities to make decision. So I ask Dato Tim, for the sake of clarity. Who is he directing this points to? Please be clear lah….

customer June 7, 2008 at 11:26 am

1st of all i like to apologise. I am not bright but i know how to think wise.

all this bedb to me, is talk the talk, Delusional and so much to promote one’s profile.

I come from the low income earners which most of the brunei people are.

I don’t see any real progress and fruitfull atempt in implementing changes.

Sure i would love to be in the forum and listen to discussions. What stops me is when i see some crooks business people attending the program. I guess Im not at the stage where i want associated with them. MAybe when i reach my 1st $$ Million perhaps??

ANd seeing those young entreprenurs attending, sigh. I hope they don’t be too delusional by talk the talk.

Think BIG?? I still go for traditional business for now. Brunei is small.. so think small when you started.

one example, Andaman restaurant. with its Grand opening and all. What they did was not based on poor planning or ideas. Sure their superior are well business orientated. but this young people lack experience. Let me share with you, Business in brunei is Unique.

Orang kaya boleh cakap lah, orang macam kami? how to talk the talk? so lets not make those bright entrepenurs delusional. Take one step bake and go basic. Thats how brunei is. PLAY SAFE ๐Ÿ™‚

anakbrunei June 8, 2008 at 7:37 am

RE: I agree with you but the WILL can only come when we are very clear and very sure about what we want to do, hence CLARITY of PURPOSE must come first don’t you think? And once there is WILL, I think money is no longer an issue…

JS: No arguments there dude ๐Ÿ™‚

Badin: Attitude equals altitude ๐Ÿ˜‰

ARB: u said it.. utopian because we all know human nature

Abdullah: well, bangas as it may seem bro, if we cant get the basics right, what point is there of spending money on actions. Its like spending money on petrol for your car and then just driving around in circles because you have no map and you have no idea where you are going. Abis minyak bali lagi dan lagi dan lagi, but going nowhere ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t speak for Dato Timothy but if we were to take a corporate parallel, clarity of purpose should come from the top management and then cascade its way down through the organisation…

SMARTER Dad: Malangnya the question is always the same, “What’s in it for ME?” Be that as it may, it shouldn’t stop us from progressing lah… there’s always a trade-off for progress. Its whether we want to accept the trade-off and move ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

customer: you sound so negative… turn the negative to positive please and thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

Rogue economist June 8, 2008 at 5:00 pm

OK. Your points taken. Ganya it has always been NATO bah (No Action Talk Only). That’s why people get agitated whenever there is talk about diversification. Our objective is already clear: We NEED to diversify. Our problems are also clear: mostly related with redtape etc etc. Nothing new in their findings, no?
What we want to hear are the actions or programmes prepared by the government and its agencies.
Do we really want to wait for public sector restructuring, development of entrepreneurship programme etc etc before embarking the diversification initiatives?
We can never be sure what we want to do, until we do it. Even if you use the most advance econometric technique to make projections of the future, you can NEVER be sure.
How I wish Brunei commissions researchers to find our strengths in terms of physical and human resources and how best to use these strengths to achieve diversification.

Ryousouke June 9, 2008 at 10:30 am

Well, in my humble opinion, I think the entire problem is “execution” and nothing else. Diversification is just the “issue”. Every company, organization and nationa faces different “issues”. The truth of the matter is HOW you tackle it.

And it all comes down to execution. Companies in the USA have spent even more than Brunei on consultants to devise every which way of strategy, but at the end of the day … we need to EXECUTE. Without execution, plans stay as plans…

Anyway… that’s my 2 pence on it…

customer June 9, 2008 at 3:15 pm

ala.,..

negative kah Ab. yatah kan im just not at the the same level. how i wish i can express intellectually. I guess that is what I saw and i can only benefit from people’s business mistake.

I feel like being in a forum already. This is like power talk coffee break among all up there. Thanks for giving me the opportunity.

I hope i can emerge oneday and get involve professionally.

All the best and btw HM tops the spot among the richest Royalty in the world. ## $22 Billion. ?? (forbes). nothing to be proud of?

Mudahan sampai ke anak cucu tani semua. Amin. k sorry, carryon Talk the talk ๐Ÿ™‚

goreng pisang goreng pisang ~~~~ 10sen saja untung nya. still it’s untung. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tekuyong handsome June 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

We talk the talk
but say not much..
Listen real less
and act very little.

Walk the walk?
Two steps forward,
three steps backward
Is it the tango?
More like
dazed and confused…
Alas we can only be amused.

Too many cooks spoil the broth?
Yeah..those armchair cooks in particular
We become sad doubters
instead of active doers

No despair though
human capability can see us through
as long as the oil continues to flow
diversification will not follow through

As for now
we discuss
and we reflect…
wiser and cleverer, for sure
but perhaps relatively only poorer.

customer June 11, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Tekuyong Handsome.

just like tekuyong in the mud hehe.

sometimes this whole thing forum here and there is like a comedy show to me. It’s true we became sad doubters and becoming even more delusional.

I don’t mind wearing lovely suits if my salary is above that $10,000 mark and talk the talk.

๐Ÿ™‚

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