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Brunei: Country and Foreign Investment

Executive Summary

The Islamic Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam is close to vital sea lanes running through the South China Sea linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The climate is tropical. The capital is Bandar Seri Begawan. The country consists of two parts physically separated by a finger of Malaysian territory. Brunei's major natural resources are petroleum, natural gas and timber.

Brunei was a powerful state from the 16th to the 19th century, but in 1888 it became a British protectorate. Britain retained responsibility for the state's defense and foreign affairs until 1984, when the sultanate became fully independent.

The population was estimated at 408,786 in July 2012. The official religion is Islam. Malay is the official language; English and Chinese are also spoken.

Brunei is a constitutional sultanate. The Sultan and Prime Minister is Sir Hassnal Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967). Civil law is based on English common law; for Muslims, Islamic Shari'a law supersedes civil law in a number of areas.

GDP at purchasing power parity was USD21.03bn (2011 est.), and per capita in the same year, was estimated at USD49,500. The currency is the Bruneian dollar.

Revenues in 2011 were $7.234 billion against expenditure of $4.929 billion.

The currency is the Bruneian dollar.

In 2000, Brunei instituted a tax-privileged International Financial Centre (BIFC) providing regimes for banking, insurance, investment funds and trust management. Accordingly, Brunei is a "dual jurisdiction", whereby the international legislation offers "offshore" facilities, alongside the usual range of "domestic" legislation drawn from that of England and Wales. Legislation passed in 2000 introduced a number of additional corporate forms which are available to business operations in the International Financial Centre, including International Business Companies, International Limited Partnerships, and International Trusts.

In Brunei there is no personal income tax, and there are no export, sales, payroll or manufacturing taxes. Sole-proprietorship and partnership businesses are not subject to income tax. The main tax for resident ('domestic') companies is corporate tax, but this does not apply in the BIFC.



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