BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – A working committee to oversee the development of creative industries in Brunei is currently being tabled by the government, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports said on Monday.

The committee would look at how creative industries can generate economic opportunities for young people, especially leveraging on technology.

Speaking during a panel at the National Youth Congress, a policy dialogue between government and Bruneian youth, YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Paduka Hj Abidin said a working committee would help establish policies for a conducive ecosystem for local enterprises to make them competitive on an international stage.

This would require a “whole of nation” approach involving stakeholders from diverse sectors, as well as research on economic growth potential and sustainability, the minister added.

“The idea to establish a creative industry council for the country was proposed in 2012. Perhaps we should revisit it and we should also be looking to involve other stakeholders to become part of it — not only the government, but also the youths as well as the industries.”

YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said the local creative industry has shown promise in terms of marketability, recalling recent art exhibitions such as the all-female artist showing at the Waterfront Gallery, which managed to rake in more than $11,000 in art sales in its first month.

Leveraging on digital platforms

With Brunei’s high internet and mobile penetration, youths already have the tools to help them access markets beyond the sultanate, said the Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yusof.

He told The Scoop that the creative industries portfolio could come under the newly-established Digital Economy Council, which guides the nation’s ICT policy towards reaching “Smart Nation” status.

The council’s current scope is still limited, only touching areas of e-government, ICT and the telecommunications industry, the minister explained, but getting local creatives involved could make the council’s work even more relevant.

Participants of the National Youth Congress in a group photo with cabinet ministers on June 17, 2019. Photo: Hazimul Wa’ie/The Scoop

The two-day National Youth Congress gathered more than 200 participants at the ICC to discuss issues such as employment, entrepreneurship, civil society and youth leadership. It was only the second National Youth Congress to be staged in Brunei, the last one was held in 2008.

Monday also saw the final resolutions delivered to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, which will be used in future policy-making.