President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wound up his 10-day overseas trip with commitments of $3.5 billion in investment commitments from businessmen in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
President Yudhoyono returned to Indonesia on Friday (21/3/08), Antara reported, after a tour which took in Iran, where other investments were achieved, the Organization of Islamic Conference in Sengal and South Africa.
He said corporate groups from Dubai including Emaar Properties, Gulf Petroleum, Pacific Interlink, the Bin Ladin Group, Jumeirah Group and Ras Al Khaimah were willing to invest in Indonesia.
"They express their commitment and feel happy to invest in our country although we still have some problems back home," President Yudhoyono was quoted as saying.
The Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) signed a joint venture with Emaar Properties PJSC to undertake a mega-tourism and mixed-use project, Gulf News reported.
Emaar earlier confirmed it will go ahead with plans for a resort development in Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara. A hotel, golf course and other facilities will be built on a 1,200-hectare property with an investment estimated at $600 million.
Talks in Dubai were also held with M Ali Alabbar, the CEO of agribusiness company Pacific Inter Link, Fouad Hayil Saeed from Qatar Islamic Bank and Abdul Latif bin Abdulla al Mahmod of infrastructure group Ras Al Khaimah.
Back at home, formal discussions had begun on a possible revision of the oil price in the 2008 budget to between $90-$95 per barrel due to the higher global crude price, a senior official at the mines and energy ministry said on Wednesday.
The government and parliament's budget committee had previously agreed a crude price assumption of $85 a barrel for this year.
"The government and parliament's energy commission have agreed an oil price of $90-$95 per barrel for the 2008 budget. But a decision will be made by parliament's budget committee," Director General of Oil and Gas Luluk Sumiarso told Reuters.
On Wednesday, Finance Minster Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the assumption of the oil price in the budget may exceed $95 per barrel.
"The parliament has recommended a new assumption of $90 to $95 per barrel, but the figure could be higher than that," she said at a seminar.
The global oil price fell by the end of the week, trading at around $102 per barrel on Thursday.
The fuel subsidy bill is forecast to hit Rp106.2 trillion ($11.53 billion) this year, more than twice the original budget forecast of 45.8 trillion rupiah, due to soaring global oil prices.
The banking industry said it expects loan growth to ease during the year, according to a business plan submitted by domestic banks to the central bank, Reuters reported.
Outstanding bank loans are expected to grow 24.6% this year, the business plan forecast, compared with an actual 25.5% increase last year. The forecast is more optimistic than the central bank's estimate of 22% growth this year.
Total outstanding bank loans as of December, 2007, were Rp1,045.7 trillion ($113.5 billion).
"The banking industry needs to be cautious over developments in the global and domestic capital markets recently," the business plan said.