Wed, 09 Sep 2009
From:
The government on Wednesday said that it would need an investment of Rp 36 trillion ($3.6 billion) to revitalize the country’s troubled railway system over the next five years.

It also expects to issue a detailed regulation next week to encourage privatization in the sector and end the monopoly of state railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia.

“The government has agreed to set aside Rp 20 trillion [for railway expenditure] over the next five years from the national budget,” said Tunjung Inderawan, the Transportation Ministry’s director general of railways.

“The money will be used to revitalize all railways across the nation as we’re ready to open up the industry to the private sector.”

The government also hopes to source some Rp 16 trillion from international agencies, like the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank.

“The current budget is much too small for a comprehensive revitalization program as it will actually take up to Rp 15 trillion a year, or Rp 150 trillion for 10 years,” Tunjung said.

“Private firms will need to step in and fill the gap.”

He added that the implementing regulation had been on the desk of the state secretariat for almost two weeks and that he was expecting it to be issued next week.

“It will explain the railway operation business and include rules for private companies participating in the sector as operators, together with new local, provincial and national regulations,” he said.

Tunjung said the plans to deregulate the sector were not expected to hurt KAI. Despite having a monopoly, KAI has been beset by corruption, inefficiency and underfunding and has failed to post profits or properly maintain the country’s railway infrastructure.

Tunjung said that it was planned to set up a new company to specialize in the development and maintenance of railways to replace existing KAI subsidiaries.

Taufik Hidayat, the executive director of Indonesia Railway Watch, a nongovernmental organization, said he welcomed the move to deregulate the sector.

“The regulation should assess future competition, the commercial and monetary aspects, and the political costs of deregulation,” Taufik said.

“If all is well, than the private sector will start investing in the system.”



Thu, 10 Sep 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by Marmalade
Wow, it got moved behind my front-bottom.


Thu, 10 Sep 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by Marmalade
Eww, I feel all dirty. I don't usually associate with business-types.


Thu, 10 Sep 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by KuKuKaChu
directly or indirectly, "business" feeds you.


Thu, 10 Sep 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by Euan Mie
World turns disapproving eyes on Singapore banquet
ERIC ELLIS
September 9, 2009
WERE every high school as wonderful as Singapore's United World College.

Each morning, a convoy of chauffeur-driven Mercedes, BMWs and SUVs sweep up to the expansive campus, dropping well-shod students dangling all manner of modish teenage bling; mobile phones, computers, designer this and that. The sumptuous grounds are more suggestive of a five-star resort than a secondary school.

With yearly fees of more than $40,000, UWC is where Singapore's well-heeled foreign residents send their kids. That's the common or garden expat professionals on an Asian posting, as well as Tay Za, regarded by Washington as bagman to the Burmese junta. Tay Za's teenage boy Htet is dropped off in a chauffeur-driven Lamborghini, as his father evades US sanctions.

Some teachers are disquieted by all this but Singapore seems to subscribe to a ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy on where money comes from. In recent years, Singapore has actively sought to become Asia's Switzerland, the discreet depository of the super-rich, however they made their money. That led to a boom in private banking, with an attendant boom in property and high-end services for this monied elite, including education.

While the vast majority of Singaporean depositors are squeaky-clean, as anywhere, some are not. The Burmese junta banks in Singapore and the money of some of North Korea and Zimbabwe's potentates is widely thought to be salted away here.

The big money comes from Indonesia, whose tycoons have regarded Singapore as a refuge from volatility at home. The two countries have no extradition treaty and there's good reason for it to remain that way. Merrill Lynch estimated a third of Singapore's 60,000-odd millionaires were Indonesian, making the city-state Jakarta's affluent northern suburb. Re-elected on an anti-corruption ticket, Jakarta's Yudhoyono Government suspects a good few of its countrymen in Singapore have salted away tarnished money there.

But while markets were roaring, no one really much cared.

Singapore's private client relationship managers (RMs) were pushing high-margin exotic derivative products created by their investment banks, and the rich got richer. The atmosphere was perhaps best exemplified by the appearance of UBS executive director James Tulley, known to friends as ''Tulley Tubby'', in Singapore Tatler magazine boasting about his 30 pairs of spectacles and 100 pairs of shoes.

But the financial crisis changed everything. It devastated values, banks and depositors, and Western governments sought to crack down on tax havens and regimes reluctant to adequately disclose their financial affairs. Earlier this year, Singapore was threatened with a blacklist of financial shelters compiled by the G20. Germany's Angela Merkel, Britain's Gordon Brown, France's Nicolas Sarkozy and the new US president Barack Obama linked arms against international tax havens and secretive financial regimes, seeking scalps to make up for their own economies' failings.

Now the Europeans are pressing Singapore and other financial centres to open their books. Just 3 per cent to 5 per cent of Singapore's private banking clients are regarded as European, most of them thought to be Russian. That's incidental in the private banking scene in Singapore but the implications beyond Europe are acute.

What Singapore doesn't want is the same rules as the EU and the US. It also doesn't want to be singled out among Asian financial centres if Hong Kong doesn't face the same rules. But Singapore cherishes a self-styled reputation as an exemplary international corporate citizen, operating by globally accepted norms.

Complicating the picture is a spate of court actions in Singapore's courts where the big Asian tycoons Singapore loves are at war with big international banks it also covets over who's responsible for the massive GFC trading losses in their private accounts. Several cases involve ''accumulators'' which involve banks signing clients to a long program of buying stocks, often bank stocks, at fixed discounted prices. That was great when Citibank was trading at $90 and the client bought shares at $45, but not much fun when Citi shares slumped to under $10, but the contracted accumulators kept, well, accumulating at $45. Banks claim caveat emptor, but no wonder clients dub the contracts ''I kill you later''.

Private banking consultant Roman Scott of Calamander Capital says private banks are in denial over the extent of the problem. And, he says, Singapore faces a tricky dilemma. He likens Indonesia and countries like it to diners in a restaurant where various regulators, unfamiliar with the menu, look to the smaller European table and chorus ''We'll have what they're having.'' And, as it struggles to again economically re-invent itself, Singapore is hoping everyone somehow is well fed.

Eric Ellis writes for Forbes from Asia.


Thu, 10 Sep 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by KuKuKaChu
Euan, are you inferring that the above is "business"?

for me, it's more about finance than business. business is productive and useful; finance, including banks and stocks markets, is not so immediately useful.


Thu, 10 Sep 2009
From: JakChat
Comment by Euan Mie
Good point. Where's your finance page then laddie? I'm not suicidal enough yet





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