Wed, 09 Sep 2009
From: The Jakarta Globe
By Janeman Latul
The stalled $600 million Lombok tourism megaproject is still on holiday after a meeting on Sunday in Dubai between PT Bali Tourism Development Corporation and developer Emaar Properties failed to settle anything.

“There was no definite decision of how to finalize the discussion into real action,” I Made Mandra, president director of BTDC, the state-owned company appointed by the government to partner with Dubai-based Emaar, said on Tuesday.

“We’re still discussing whether some alternatives on the matter can be finalized, but it’s difficult to determine how much time we have to come together with one voice on the matter,” he said.

Mandra declined to elaborate on what needed to be agreed upon before the extension for the joint-venture agreement expires on Dec. 31.

“However, I’m still confident that all matters will be resolved before the deadline,” he said.

The joint-venture project was announced with great fanfare in May 2007 by now outgoing Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

However, the project has been stalled several times by unresolved issues, including obstacles to land acquisition, infrastructure requirements, disagreements on tax exemptions and how ownership in planned joint venture would be split between Emaar and BTDC.

The meeting was also attended by Alwi Shihab, the president’s special envoy to the Middle East.

Alwi’s office declined to comment on the matter, reiterating that all statements to the media needed to be jointly issued by Emaar and the government.

Badrul Munir, West Nusa Tenggara’s deputy governor, said on Friday that after a meeting at the vice president’s office, a team of representatives from BTDC would be sent to Dubai this past Sunday to finalize negotiations.

The vice president is reportedly pushing to resolve the matter before he finishes his term in office next month.

Emaar could not be reached for comment.



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