Fri, 11 Apr 2008
From: The Jakarta Post
By Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set to open a regional investment forum in late May, designed to attract foreign and local investors in development projects across the country.

The Indonesian Regional Investment Forum, which will take place at the Ritz-Carlton in the Sudirman Central Business District in South Jakarta on May 26 and 27, is expected to secure at least US$6 billion, the organizer said Thursday.

"So far, more than 50 regions have registered to participate in the forum," the forum project leader Tony Gourlay told a press conference.

A region must present three or more feasible projects worth a total of at least $50 million to participate in the forum.

The projects will cover a range of areas, including agribusiness, plantations, biofuel, infrastructure, mining, power, oil, gas, property and tourism.

More than 500 foreign and local investors are scheduled to attend the forum and channel funds to provinces, cities or regencies, said Irman Gusman, the forum's chairman and deputy speaker of the Regional Representatives Council.

Irman said the forum would enable investors to discuss the projects directly with leaders of provinces, cities and regions.

"The forum gives us the opportunity to improve the regions' social and economic development ... and to reduce unemployment and poverty," he said.

Tanri Abeng, a member of the forum's advisory board, said Indonesia's regions had abundant natural resources, as well as labor potency and high domestic demand, which could attract investors.

The governor of Riau province, Rusli Zaenal, said his province had submitted three infrastructure projects to the forum.

"The projects are for a turnpike -- connecting Pekanbaru and Dumai -- a railway line and Buton port," Rusli said.

He did not elaborate on the amount of funding needed for the projects.

Riau, one of the fastest growing regions in the country, expects to secure Rp 223.1 billion ($24.25 million) of domestic investment and $95.2 million of foreign investment this year.

According to the Investment Coordinating Board, total foreign direct investment in Indonesia between January and September last year reached Rp 125.94 trillion, an increase of almost 170 percent from Rp 74.51 trillion in 2006.

Investment is estimated to have grown by 9.5 percent in the first quarter of this year from Rp 40.9 trillion in the same period in 2007, according to the Finance Ministry.



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