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PRESIDENT PROMISES SWIFT FINALIZATION OF REVISED DNI LIST

Posted on February 06, 2014 on 06:55:19 WIB

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has promised his top economic ministers that he will quickly finalize the planned revision of the negative investments list (DNI) in order to provide certainty to foreign investors, an official has said. “The President’s concern is that if a policy has been formulated, then it must be finalized,” Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman Mahendra Siregar told reporters on Wednesday, when asked for updates on the DNI revision plan. “If a policy has been announced and people have already been anticipating it, then why wouldn’t it be issued? It’s not only our credibility [that is at stake],” he said, quoting Yudhoyono’s statement at the last economic coordination meeting in Cipanas, West Java. “I think it is clear that the President isn’t too satisfied with certain things that have not been implemented as planned,” Mahendra said. The government announced on Nov. 6 a plan to revise the DNI, a list of industries that are either wholly or partially closed to foreign investors, saying that it would allow foreigners greater ownership in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and infrastructure management, among others. Economists say that revising the DNI would be a breakthrough in boosting foreign direct investment in order to prevent a further slowdown in the economy. In the third quarter, Indonesia’s economy decelerated to 5.6 percent, its slowest pace in three years, mainly due to a drop-off in investment, the nation’s second biggest growth driver, which accounts for one-third of gross domestic product (GDP). The plan to revise the DNI has been on the cards since 2010, when the BKPM was led by Gita Wirjawan, the current trade minister. But, despite the positive impact that it would have on the economy, the DNI revision proposal has been met with stern opposition due to growing anti-foreign, nationalistic sentiment on the issue, forcing the President to put the plan on hold. “Anti-foreign sentiment is normal. Even countries like China, India, the US, all deal with it,” Mahendra said in a separate interview with The Jakarta Post recently. “I personally would be surprised if there was a country in the world that didn’t have it.” Sofjan Wanandi, the chairman of the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) who has been regularly invited by the government to discuss DNI revision, said that the President had in principle agreed to the proposal during the last meeting in Cipanas. “I heard from [a minister] that the plan has been approved,” he said. “But, the details have still to be discussed further at the final meeting, which hopefully will take place before the end of this month.” However, the new DNI would balance certain relaxations with new limitations on foreign investors in specific industries. For instance, the retail and logistic sectors — in which foreign investors are currently allowed up to 100 percent ownership — would be regulated so that Indonesians must become the majority shareholders, Sofjan said. Yudhoyono himself is yet to make up his mind on the issue, according to Firmanzah, the Presidential special staffer for economic affairs. “I can not speculate whether the Presidential regulation itself has been issued,” he wrote in a text message on Wednesday, when asked about the timeline for the DNI revision plan. “The President has instructed that the DNI revision proposal be assessed again comprehensively in consideration of national interests, as well as future economic challenges and opportunities.”


Source: The Jakarta Post, 05 December 2013

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