Fri, 05 Sep 2003

Commercial dispute center opened by minister

Fitri Wulandari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dorodjatun Kuntjoro- Jakti officially opened on Thursday an independent mediation center which is intended to help businesses reach out-of-court settlements in commercial disputes.

Dorodjatun, in his opening speech, blamed commercial disputes among businesspeople for creating uncertainty in the country's business environment, which contributed to the slowdown in the country's economic growth.

Many such cases have occurred because the parties misinterpreted the existing laws, he said.

"Therefore, the role of a mediation center to settle commercial disputes is important," Dorodjatun said in his speech to inaugurate the Indonesian Mediation Center (PMN).

A speedy settlement of commercial disputes is expected to eventually boost the real sector, he asserted.

Indonesia has become notorious for its corrupt judicial system, a situation which has frustrated the business community and created legal uncertainty.

Denaldy M. Mauna, the chairman of PMN said the center was established in line with an increasing need from the public for a fast, effective and efficient settlement of commercial disputes.

"Based on experience, such cases have a better chance for settlements when the parties use the service of mediators," he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

"In mediation, settlement comes from parties involved. What they get is a win-win solution," he said, adding that disputing parties can also save time and money when using the service of mediators.

PMN is open to any party who wants to resolve a commercial dispute. It offers mediation services for a wide range of commercial disputes, including wage issues, debt restructuring and big business transactions.

Members of PMN are professional mediators, most of whom have been working at the Jakarta Initiative Task Force (JITF), which has received praise for its success in mediating disputes between foreign creditors and the country's private sector.

Established in 1998 upon the request of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), JITF was tasked to help restructure huge dollar-dominated debts owed by the private sector to their creditors, mostly outside of Indonesia.

JITF has successfully helped restructure over US$20 billion in private debts.