Tue, 04 Sep 2001

Kuwait to lend US$50 million to RI

JAKARTA (JP): The Kuwait government announced on Monday its intention to provide Indonesia with some US$50 million in soft loan to help finance the country's development projects.

The Kuwait Embassy in Jakarta said in a brief statement that the soft loan was part of Kuwait's efforts to boost bilateral ties between the two countries.

The statement also said that Ambassador Jamal Al Nesafi had met with President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Friday.

It didn't provide any details or timetable on when the loan would be disbursed.

Indonesia needs foreign assistance to help lift the country out of its current economic difficulties. The government is expected to secure a massive loan commitment from the Consultative Group on Indonesia (CGI) next month to help finance the 2002 state budget.

Elsewhere, the embassy said that Kuwait would help construct 15 new villages for the Indonesian refugees, each village would consist of 50 people, two classrooms, one clinic and one mosque.

Apart from the loan commitment, the embassy said, Kuwait had also pledged to extend its investments in Indonesia, particularly in the oil and gas industry, through its state firm Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC).

So far, KUFPEC has invested about $1.25b in natural gas exploration in the Natuna Sea and on Seram island in Maluku.

Last year, KUFPEC discovered natural gas in Natuna Sea Block A, which would be exported to Singapore via a 640 kilometer (400 mile) underwater pipeline.

KUFPEC has a one-third stake in the major exploration deal in Indonesia, while operator Premier Oil Natuna Sea Ltd. has the remainder.(iwa)