Fri, 11 Aug 2006

DPD to stage local investment forum

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In the hope of encouraging the country's regions to become more proactive and receptive toward inward investment, the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), in collaboration with a global event organizer, will host an event titled the Indonesian Regional Investment Forum in November.

"We want to make local governments more proactive and to take the initiative in encouraging inward investment into their regions. We hope that this event will serve as the catalyst in encouraging the regions to promote their potentialities," DPD Deputy Speaker Irman Gusman said Thursday.

Speaking also in his capacity as the chairman of the forum's organizing committee, Irman said that in this era of globalization, local governments had to be creative in providing jobs and alleviating poverty through the encouragement of new investment.

"This is the real meaning of local autonomy. This is real development. This is the essence of decentralization, the creation of prosperity."

Irman said the two-day investment forum, which began Nov. 2, would be attended by delegations from more than 15 countries and would be addressed by a number of prominent speakers, including the President, several ministers and a number of governors representing the country's local chief executives.

He said that the delegates would be informed about what the government was doing to improve the investment climate and also be brought on visits to major projects and companies that were open and ready for investment.

According to Irman, the keynote speaker will be C.K. Prahalad, the author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, who has been dubbed the most influential thinker on business strategy today by Business Week magazine.

"There are still many problems concerning investment in Indonesia, but at least the upcoming investment forum will serve as a starting point based on which the DPD can serve as a catalyst for promoting what is encapsulated in Prahalad's theories," said former minister Sarwono Kusmaatmaja, also a member of the DPD.

Despite the dire need for investment, various surveys have confirmed that the regulations issued by many local governments are actually detrimental to investment.

President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who recently arrived back from a trip to Singapore, expressed disappointment Monday about the state of the country's investment climate, saying that foreign investors were still not interested in putting their money into Indonesia as little had improved here.

"I really felt disheartened when our Singaporean friends said that they still did not consider Indonesia to be an attractive investment destination as nothing had changed," Soesilo said as quoted by Indo Pos.