The ILO in Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam has been a member State of the ILO since January 2007. The country is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with oil and gas generating a substantial amount of foreign investment, income and jobs. However, unemployment (of youth in particular) remains a critical issue. There is an apparent mismatch between jobseekers expectations, job opportunities and the skills requirements of employers. The labour force survey in 2014 illustrated that employment was heavily concentrated in the services sector (77.7 per cent), particularly in wholesale and retail trade (11.3 per cent) and public administration (26.2 per cent).

The Government is trying to diversify the economy to create more employment in sectors other than energy and upgrade the skills of the labour force. In 2007 Brunei launched "Vision 2035" (Wawasan 2035) which included three strategic goals, all relevant to the decent work agenda: (i) a nation recognized by the accomplishments of its educated and highly skilled people; (ii) quality of life among the top 10 nations of the world; (iii) income per capita among the top 10 nations. At its core, Vision 2035 is a master plan for socio-economic development focusing on eight thematic areas, among them: education, economy, local business development, social security and environmental protection. Vision 2035 is central to Brunei Darussalam’s 15-year National Development Plan (an initial 10 year phase followed by a further five year initiative).

Recently, ILO cooperation programme in Brunei has been strengthening especially in the areas of labour market information, Occupational Health and Safety and International Labour standards. It also sought technical support in the establishment of a minimum wages and improved tripartite mechanism.

In April 2014, the first “ Direct Trust Fund Agreement “ was signed for the project on Revision and Enhancement of the Labour Market Data. The project is progressing well and the executive summary of the LFS report has been officially launched in April 2015 and published.

The ILO’s technical assistance in Brunei Darussalam is handled through the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok, Thailand.