Applications to import cement to Brunei will be processed within three working days, according to the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO).
Businesses importing will have to be private limited companies, also known as sendirian berhad, registered under the construction sector with shareholders needing to comprise at least 70 per cent bumiputera.
They will also have to register on the government’s online business reporting portal (OBR) and provide certification on the cement’s quality from the country export.
“For those renewing (their importer status), the companies will also need to have a workforce that is at least 70 per cent local and have no outstanding amount owed to the government,” said Senior Economic Officer under the Programme Strategy Office of EIDPMO Hjh Norsarizah Hj Sarbi during a dialogue yesterday evening with the business community (pictured) at the Design and Technology building.
The import quota previously applied for cement was abolished effective January 1 this year – paving the way for more competitive cement prices in Brunei through an open market that ensures a level playing field for all industry players.
The new policy is expected to drive down the price of cement and the cost of construction; creating more opportunities in the industry and more spin-offs in the process for local micro, small and medium enterprises.
Hjh Norsarizah said cement importer status would be revoked or not renewed if companies bring in cement that does not match their import declarations or are found to be involved in banding together with other companies to maintain high prices and restrict competition.
Owners who are not involved in the company’s affairs and fail to report to OBR will also have their importer status withdrawn.
Companies approved as importers can proceed through the Brunei Darussalam National Single Window (BDNSW) – an online platform that submits trade information and documents from businesses to the government for approval.
After applicants register and submit the declaration form on BDNSW to the Royal Customs and Excise Department, the authorities will approve submissions online, and the goods can proceed for inspection at the control posts.
The Public Works Department (JKR) will also do surveillance audits of cement imports to ensure the quality is up to par. When JKR visits, companies will have to provide their import letter as well as a bag of cement that will be brought to the lab for testing.
Meanwhile those bringing in cement across the border for individual use are limited to two bags a vehicle.
BDNSW can be accessed at www.bdnsw.gov.bn. To learn more about the new guidelines of importing cement contact the Darussalam Enterprise hotline at +6738363442, the 123 Darussalam hotline or visit the Business Support Centre at the Design and Technology building in Aggerek Desa – where applications for cement import are also submitted.
Also attending yesterday’s dialogue were the Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of DARe Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Hj Md Yasmin Hj Umar and the Permanent Secretary (Industry) at EIDPMO Hj Mohhd Azmi Hj Mohd Hanifah.