International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation highlights that Brunei’s economy has been adjusting to declining oil production since 2010 and lower oil and gas (O&G) prices since 2014, with the authorities undertaking wide-ranging reforms. Growth is expected to pick up in 2019 to 1.8 percent, with the outlook improving further over the medium term, driven by stronger O&G activities from asset rejuvenation and large foreign direct investment projects. The authorities have made substantial progress in fiscal consolidation, improving the business climate, and developing the financial sector. The fiscal consolidation initiatives include corporatization and privatization, public-private partnership, evaluation of subsidies against targets, fiscal management enhancement, revenue diversification, and amalgamation of the government’s asset management system. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ initiatives to develop the financial sector, while safeguarding financial stability and integrity. The initiatives include steps to broaden the investor base, establish a secondary bond market, develop the required infrastructure and rules for establishing a stock exchange, and put all the three pillars of Basel II in place.
This paper leverages the IMF’s Financial Access Survey (FAS) database to construct a new composite index of financial inclusion. The topic of financial inclusion has gathered significant attention in recent years. Various initiatives have been undertaken by central banks both in advanced and developing countries to promote financial inclusion. The issue has also attracted increasing interest from the international community with the G-20, IMF, and World Bank Group assuming an active role in developing and collecting financial inclusion data and promoting best practices to improve financial inclusion. There is general recognition among policy makers that financial inclusion plays a significant role in sustaining employment, economic growth, and financial stability. Nonetheless, the issue of its robust measurement is still outstanding. The new composite index uses factor analysis to derive a weighting methodology whose absence has been the most persistent of the criticisms of previous indices. Countries are then ranked based on the new composite index, providing an additional analytical tool which could be used for surveillance and policy purposes on a regular basis.