Thu, 05 Jun 2008
Novia D. Rulistia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government plans to provide a framework for the protection of copyrights and financial assistance to help encourage creative businesses, a minister Wednesday said.

Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said the framework would form part of industry's development blueprints.

"With the protection of copyrights and provision of financial assistance for small and medium businesses, we expect to be able to nurture the industry," she said, without elaborating.

The included creative industries comprise some 14 areas; music and musical instruments, advertising, architecture, handicrafts and art festivals, antiques, design, fashion, film, video and photography, interactive games, performing arts, printing and publishing, computer services and software and radio and television.

A lack of effort by the government in developing the industry and protecting copyrights has discouraged many companies from engaging in the sector.

Analysts have regularly said Indonesia's creative industry is lagging far behind other developing countries in Asia, with China estimated to be 18 years ahead in the sector.

By providing concrete facilities, including hefty tax exemptions and discounts and sufficient business infrastructure, China has already managed to attract global giant software firms, while also stimulating the emergence of local creative firms.

China's Hangzhou city, for example, established in 1990 the Hangzhou Hi-Tech Industry Development Zone, which now houses research and development centers for Microsoft, Intel, Nokia Siemens Networks and Samsung.

Software designers and engineers are also exempted from income tax to encourage them to engage in the industry, despite the fact that China is the world's biggest copyright violator.

Mari, however, remained upbeat Indonesia would achieve the target of 11 percent contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, as stated in the blueprint.

"Between 2009 and 2015, our efforts will be to strengthen the basic creative economy, while the acceleration (of that process) will occur between 2015 and 2025," she said without mentioning any methods.

Mari said during the acceleration period, the industry would contribute 9 to 11 percent to the GDP and account for 12 to 13 percent of the country's total exports.

According to the Central Statistics Agency, between 2002 and 2006, the creative industry contributed an average 6.3 percent to the national GDP, or equivalent to Rp 104.68 trillion.

The industry absorbs some 5.4 million workers and ranks fifth among Indonesia's top export commodities.



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