Thu, 30 Aug 2001

Government to explain LoI to DPR

JAKARTA (JP): Economic ministers have offered to explain the content of the newly signed Letter of Intent (LoI) to members of the House of Representatives (DPR), said legislator Zulfan Lindan.

He said Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti had requested a meeting with House Commission IX for financial and development planning affairs.

"We have scheduled the meeting for September 5," said Zulfan of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), which President Megawati Soekarnoputri chairs.

The government signed the LoI on Monday for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The LoI has won praise from economists and financial analysts, but it has been condemned by lawmakers.

Legislators are particularly irked by the government's commitment with the IMF to sell a 51 percent stake in publicly- listed Bank Central Asia (BCA), without consulting lawmakers as was required.

Zulfan said the House would not allow the government to sell its stake in BCA if the sale was solely based on technical reasons, such as attracting a strategic partner.

"There should be a guarantee that selling the 51 percent stake in BCA will help revive the country's economy. Otherwise, the House will oppose the planned divestment," he said.

On Tuesday, legislators from the Golkar Party and United Development Party factions objected to the planned sale of a majority stake in BCA, saying that selling it at its current price would not yield a profit for the government.

The government reached an agreement with the House last March to sell a 40 percent stake in BCA through a secondary public offering and private placement. While the secondary public offering was done in July, the government decided to delay the planned private placement due to low bids that analysts attributed to the small stake up for grabs. (03)