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Brunei Brunei

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Brunei – Quick View
ECR score51.81 (Mar 2011)
ECR rank66 (Mar 2011)
GDP 2010USD 11.96 billion
GNI per capita PPP 2010USD 49,915
FDI inflow 2009USD 325.28 million
Inflation 20101.7%
Central bank assets 2009USD 11,146.71 million
Unemployment rate 20103.75%
Government fiscal balance 200926.5% of GDP
Tax revenue 2008USD 5,197.11 million
Government typeMonarchy
Recent political crisisNA
Economic freedom scoreNA
Freedom of information score 2010142nd
Corruption perception index 201038th
Birth rate 200816.1 (per '000)
Population balance 2009Under 19 years – 34.7%
Population balance 2009Over 65 years – 3.4%
Life expectancy yearsMales – 75 years
Life expectancy yearsFemales – 79.7 years
Mortality rate 20082.7 (per '000)
Literacy rate95%
Internet access 201080.7%

[Top] Economic Overview

Brunei Darussalam’s economy is primarily dependent on oil and the natural gas sector. Its primary exports include petroleum products and garments.  

(Source: State.gov)


In 2010, Brunei’s gross domestic product at current prices was estimated at BND 16.5 million and the GDP growth rate for the year was 0.5% over the previous year. GDP at current prices of the country in 2009 decreased by 26% from 2008 and registered at BND 15.14 billion. The nation’s GDP in 2008 was 20.4 billion.

Brunei GDP and GDP Growth Rate

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 1, IMF, gfmag)

Brunei’s GDP has grown steadily since 2001 and reached its maximum in 2008. In 2010, GDP was expected to grow from the decline in 2009. The nation’s real GDP growth rate in 2009 was registered as -0.5% compared to -1.9% in 2008.

GDP per capita 

In 2009, GDP per capita of Brunei declined by 26% registering BND 37,765 compared to BND 51,251 in 2008.

 Brunei GDP per capita

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 3)

GNI per capita

In 2010, the GNI per capita at PPP was USD 49,915; in 2005 the same was registered at USD 51,395.

(Source: hdrstats.undp.org)

Tax Rates

Income Tax

There is no individual tax in Brunei Darussalam.

(Source: Tax Rates)

Corporate Tax

The corporate tax rate for the year 2011 is 22%. Tax rates for companies involved in the oil and gas business is 55%.

(Source: Deloitte)


Inflation in 2009 was registered at 1.8% and is estimated to further decline to 1.7% in 2010.

Brunei Inflation Rate

(Source: Asian Development Bank, Asian Development Bank page: 1)

FDI Inflow


Net foreign direct investment in the country for the year 2009 was registered at USD 325.58 million.


Brunei FDI inflow

(Source: World Bank)

Portfolio Investment Inflow

Portfolio investment in Brunei for 2008 was USD 100 million. In 2007, portfolio investment was registered at USD 161 million.

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 6)

Assets of banking sector

Total banking sector assets of the country in 2009 at the end of Q2 was registered at BND 16,629 million. In 2008, the amount of assets held by banks in Brunei was worth BND 19,559 million.


Assets of Bank (BND million)










Amount Due From Bank

Inside Country




Outside  Country




Loan and Advances








Other Assets








(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 63)

[Top] Financial Indicators & Government Financial

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPI in the country has been on a steady increase since 2007. CPI for 2009 was registered at 104.4.

Brunei Consumer Price Index

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 3) Base: Year 2005 = 100

Interest rates

The interest rate for a term deposit of 12 months and above is 1% on bank deposits of minimum BND 1,000 to BND 100,000.

(Source: brunei.deposits.org)

Money supply

The currency in circulation in 2009 was BND 955 million. In 2008 the currency in circulation was registered at BND 922 million. Broad money (M2) of the nation in 2009 was BND 13,832 million, a decline of about 17% over the previous year’s broad money of BND 16,635 million. In 2009, the country’s broad money formed 90% of GDP at current market prices.


Brunei Money Supply


M1 – Narrow Money

M2 – Broad Money

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 4)

Official exchange rate

The exchange rate of Brunei dollars against the US dollar for 2010 was 1.59. BND’s exchange rate declined from BND 1.79 per USD in 2001 to BND 1.41 per USD in 2008.

Brunei Exchange Rate


(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 6)


Government finances

Fiscal balance

Brunei’s fiscal balance in 2009 was 26.5% of GDP. In the last decade, the nation registered a fiscal deficit in years 2002 and 2003.

Brunei Fiscal Balance

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 4, Asian Development Bank, page: 2)

Total Revenue

The government’s total revenue in 2009 was BND 6.6 billion. In 2009, the government saw a decline in its revenue by 46% compared to the government revenue in 2008. In 2008 total revenue was BND 12.21 billion.

Brunei Government Revenue


(Source: IMF)

In 2009, government total revenue was 42.55% of the nation’s GDP compared to 64% in 2008.

Tax revenue

The country’s tax revenue has increased consistently from 2003 to 2008. In 2008, Brunei’s tax revenue was BND 7,434 million.

 Brunei Tax Revenue


(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 4)


Current Account Balance

In 2009, Brunei registered a current account balance surplus. The country’s current account balance was 47% of the nation’s GDP.

Brunei Current Account Balance

(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 6)

Balance of Payments


Balance of Payments (USD million)




Current account



Balance on goods









Services and income



Current transfers



Capital account



Financial account



Direct investment



Portfolio investment



Other investment



Net errors and omissions



Overall balance



(Source: Asian Development Bank, page: 6)

[Top] Labour Force and Employment Overview

The total labour force in Brunei during 2008 registered at 188,800. The number of males and females in the country’s labour force was 114,400 and 74,400 respectively.

The total labour force participation rate in 2008 was 67.8%. The participation rate amongst males and females for the same period was 77.7% and 56.7% respectively.


 Brunei Labour Force

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 5)

The number of employed persons in the total labour force was 181,800, of which 111,200 were males and 70,600 were females.

 Brunei Number of Employed persons

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 5)

Unemployment rate

In 2010, the prevailing unemployment rate in the country was estimated at 3.75% and has been constant since 2008. Brunei has been successful in keeping its unemployment rate less than 4% except in the years 2001 and 2006.

Brunei Unemployment Rate


(Source: IMF)

Minimum wage

In Brunei, there is no minimum wage and collective bargaining. Wages are decided by the employer and the employee. The country needs legislation for collective bargaining and to decide on minimum wages for labourers.

(Source: State.gov)

Level of Unionisation

According to the law of Brunei, trade unions have limited rights and there is no provision of collective bargaining and coverage for migrant labour. Trade unions are allowed to form federation although unions and federations cannot affiliate or join international trade unions bodies. To do so they are required to take written permission from the Minister of Home Affairs and the Labour Department. There is no provision under labour law for skilled and unskilled migrants workers who form 30 to 40 percent of the total labour force.

In Brunei there are only three registered trade unions and they represent about 1,500 workers in the oil sector. Trade unions representing office workers are considered to be inactive while trade unions representing manual oil field workers perform very limited activities and exercise very little liberty from the government.

(Source: ituc-csi.org)

[Top] Political Stability

Brunei Darussalam has an absolute monarchy. The executive authority is controlled by the Sultan of Brunei. The Council of Succession, the Council of Cabinet Ministers, the Privy Council, the Religious Council and the Legislative Council are the five constitutional bodies of the country that subordinate and advise the Sultan.

The current head of state and head of government is Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah. The Sultan also serves as the Prime Minister and Head of cabinet ministers.

(Source: bedb.com)

Economic Freedom

The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom does not include Brunei Darussalam.


Corruption perception

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. In 2010, Brunei is ranked 38th on this list which indicates that the corruption levels in the public departments in the country is fairly low.

Brunei has gone up in the CPI rankings since 2009 – it was ranked 39th with a score of 5.5 indicating that the perceived levels of corruption have slightly decreased in the country.


Freedom of Information

Media in Brunei is not free. Private press is regulated by the royal family of the country, since most of them are owned by the royal family. Political and religious matters are censored by the royal family. Press law in Brunei permits imprisoning someone who reports false news.

(Source: BBC)

The World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Brunei at 142nd rank with a score of 51.00 indicating that media in Brunei is restricted.

(Source: rsf.org)


  • Borneo Bulletin - English-language daily
  • Media Permata - Malay-language
  • BruDirect - English-language, news website

Judicial system

The country’s judicial system is based on English Common Law. The Supreme Court in the country is comprised of the high court and the court of appeals. Magistrate’s court is a Subordinate court in Brunei.

Syariah Court follows Islamic laws and is present along side the Supreme Court. Islamic Syariah law replaces the civil law in various instances for Muslims.

Intermediate courts that were set up in 1991 deal with civil and criminal jurisdiction. It does not interfere in capital offences.

(Source: bedb.com)

[Top] Demographic Overview

Brunei’s population is growing at a rate of 1.9% and registered 399,687 people in 2009. The country’s population in 2008 was 392,280 people.

(Source: World Bank, World Bank)

Brunei Total Population


(Source: World Bank, World Bank)

The gender ratio in the country is slightly imbalanced i.e. there are about 106.7 males for every 100 females in the country.

(Source: UN Data)

Population by age group

In 2009, the majority of the population belonged to the working age group of 20 to 54 years and registered 232,500 people. In 2008, the proportion was 227,100.

Brunei Population by Age Group

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 1)

Median Age

The median age of Brunei’s population in 2009 was 26.6 years. In 2008, the median age registered at 26.4 years.

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 1)

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy at birth in the period of 2005 to 2010 for males and females was recorded at 75 years and 79.7 years respectively.

(Source: UN Data)

Birth rate

In 2008, the birth rate in the country per thousand populations was registered at 16.1. The rate has declined from 17 in 2006 to 16.2 in 2007.

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 3)

Mortality rate

The mortality rate of infants (per thousand live births) was registered at 5.5 from 2005 to 2010. The crude death rate in 2008 was recorded at 2.7 deaths (per thousand populations).

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 3, UN)

Net Migration

International migrant stock till mid 2010 was recorded at 148,100 people. This was approximately 36.4% of the entire population

(Source: UN Data)

Rural/ Urban population ratio

The average annual rate of change of the urban population during 2005 to 2010 was 2.6%. During the same period, the growth rate of the rural population was 0.4%.

(Source: UN Data)

Human Development Index

The country ranks 37th out of 169 countries on the Human Development index 2010 conducted by the United Nations. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). 

(Source: UNDP)

[Top] Soft Infrastructure


The literacy rate of Brunei is about 95%.

Citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam are provided with free education through government schools. Though, the Malays get priority by current education policy since it’s a national language of the country, English is used as a medium of instruction. Religious schools in the county also use Arabic as their medium of instruction.  

The total number of educational institutions in 2008 were 261. The total number of students from nursery to university level was registered at 110,400, and the number of teachers was 9,407.

(Source:bedb.com, depd.gov.bn, page: 13)


Health care is considered to be a priority for Brunei’s government, headed by the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam.The major area of attention is to provide the health care service with high quality and cost effectiveness to maintain a clean and healthy environment for a high standard of living. Main goals of the health care system are to reduce the mortality rate amongst infants.

Public heath care centres provide services at low costs. Private clinics and private medical centres are also present along side public health care centres.

(Source: bedb.com)

In 2008, the total number of beds in hospital was 1,122, compared to 1,068 in 2007. The number of people per doctor was registered at 706.


Brunei Health Resources



(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 14)

[Top] Hard Infrastructure

Transportation in the country is completely rested upon land transportation. Metered taxis and bus services are available in the country, but the majority of the population depend on their privately owned vehicles.


The total length of roadways in the country in 2008 was measured at 2,972.1 km.  

(Source: depd.gov.bn, page: 14)


The country’s only port is Port of Muara.

(Source:world port source)



Airport name

Runway length (ft.)




Bandar Seri Begawan

Brunei International


(Source: Air charter world)

Telecommunications networks

In 2009, the number of fixed telephone lines in the country was 80,549, a decline of about 0.3% from 2008. In 2008 the number of fixed telephone lines was 80,786. The number of fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants also declined to 20.15 in 2009 from 20.59 in 2008.

(Source: ITU)

In 2009, mobile cellular subscription increased by about 3.5% compared to the previous year. The number of mobile cellular subscriptions in 2009 was 412,882 compared to 398,857 in 2008. There were 103.3 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2009 compared to 101.68 in 2008.

(Source: ITU)

In 2010, 318,900 people i.e. 80.7% of the total population used internet services. In 2007, the number of internet users was almost half with 165,600 people (41%).

Brunei Internet Users



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