Thu, 24 Aug 2006

Invest now for better gains, Kalla urges foreign investors

Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said Wednesday that Indonesia was stable and safe enough for foreign investors, urging them to invest now if they wanted to get better gains.

"My concept is 'no risk, no gain, high risk, high gain'. If you do business in Indonesia, maybe there's a higher risk than in some countries but, of course, you will make better gains," he said in his speech at the opening of the Indonesian Business Roundtable.

The forum gathers businesspeople from a number of Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia and Singapore.

"I can say Indonesia is as safe as, say, London. We're stable. Yes, there's a bomb here sometimes. But it's the same in London, right?" he said, to the audience's laughter.

A seasoned businessman, Kalla assured foreign investors the government had security and political stability under control, and was seeking a breakthrough to eradicate the red tape that often hampers business activities.

"We're open, transparent. Yes, still there are brokers but we are changing. We're reforming laws on taxation, investment. We're trying out free trade zones. We hope we can get more business and investments," he said.

Kalla said investors could submit their proposals and the government would show them the best way and most suitable location for them to materialize.

As the government was trying to provide good infrastructure, Kalla also said Indonesia's benefit of having great reserves of many kinds of energy sources should also be considered by investors.

"And as we intend to change fuel to coal, which is high quality and less expensive, I can say that we'll provide investors with quality and cheap energy in the next two years," he said.