Tue, 08 Feb 2005

Foreign investment in Indonesia

How will President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono invite new foreign investors to Indonesia to strengthen the economy, as he promised? No company will invest any money in Indonesia before the rules for foreigners are changed.

It starts with the corruption in the country, especially arriving at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport when you don't have the right visa. As an example: A Batam working visa is not valid for Jakarta. That will cost you Rp 5 million -- of course, "under the table".

A new baby born to a foreign Muslim man married to an Indonesia Muslim woman has to report to immigration within 14 days. Otherwise it will be fined US$25 a day or face jail and deportation.

To get a business visa every foreigner has to wait four working days in Singapore. A KITAS costs $1,200 plus 12 stamps from Indonesian government offices, plus money.

So, how will Susilo bring new foreign investment to Indonesia unless he changes the old rules first? FRANZ ZIESCHANK Berlin