Wed, 22 Nov 2000

Foreign investment approvals surge from January to October

JAKARTA (JP): The value of foreign investment approvals during the period between January and October of this year reached a total of US$14.6 billion, according to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).

BKPM deputy for investment services and facilitation Yus'an said that foreign investment approvals over the 10-month period represented an increase of 30 percent over the $10.8 billion for all of 1999

He said in terms of projects, the foreign investments approved during the January-October period rose to 1,286 projects from 1,164 in 1999.

Yus'an said that this year's biggest investor was Britain with 49 projects worth $3.9 billion, followed by Japan with 69 projects worth $1.54 billion, and Singapore with 180 projects worth $1.03 billion.

China and Hong Kong combined came fourth with 58 projects worth $231.7 million, and Malaysia fifth with 65 projects worth $160.2 million, Yus'an told journalists.

Yus'an said that in terms of value the domestic investment approved during the 10-month period fell to Rp 47 trillion from Rp 53.5 trillion for all of 1999. But in terms of projects, there was an increase to 291 projects compared to 237 projects in 1999.

He said that the biggest projects were in the food and beverages sector, contributing 30 percent, followed by the chemical sector.

Legal certainty

After the economic crisis hit Indonesia, approved foreign investment plunged to $13.6 billion in 1998 and dropped again in 1999 after reaching a peak of $33.8 billion in 1997.

It had only swung around this year by recording positive growth of about 30 percent, Yus'an said.

"This increased investment by foreign investors shows that they are starting to put more faith in the country than they did before," he said after witnessing the signing of an agreement between PT China Insurance Indonesia and Chinese company Yonghua Electronic Sistem Shenzhen Tiongkok.

Yus'an said that the various bombings that had occurred during the year had not deterred foreign investors from investing in the country.

"The Japanese especially are quite understanding of our situation. They understood that we are at a transitional stage between an authoritarian government and a more democratic one, and that there are bound to be some upheavals," he said, adding that Indonesia's situation was a lot better than what had happened in Russia.

"At least we are still one country. Russia broke up into many different countries," Yus'an said.

He stressed that investors were more concerned with the creation of legal certainty in the country than the bombings.

"So let's hope the government doesn't change the regulations too often, and are consistent with the existing regulations," Yus'an said.

He added that investors were also worried about the implications of the regional autonomy law on their investments when it comes into effect next year.

"Let's hope the government won't disappoint and deter investors," Yus'an said. (tnt)