Tue, 08 Mar 2011

From: Antara News

By Agus Martowardojo
"We want to make the areas to become economic zones focusing on industry and exports."

Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - Finance Minister Agus DW Martowardojo has called for the improvement of the system and concept of the country`s Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

"We have two FTZs, namely in Sabang and Batam Bintan Karimun (BBK), but their system and concept must be improved so it would not be weak," Minister Martowardojo said here Monday, when visiting the Batam Customs and Excise main office.

The FTZs developed by Singapore and Malaysia are more advanced than that in Indonesia, according to the minister.

"FTZs in Singapore and Port Klang, Malaysia, are advanced. Our challenge in the future is how to make the FTZs in Indonesia could be progressing," he said.

The problem facing Indonesia`s Free Trade Zones basically concerned coordination, he said.

The FTZ in BBK, for instance, covers eight islands and have eight seaports and many more people`s seaports.

"FTZ must be sterile, but in fact there are still many residential areas, protected forests, etc. In the future, it should be improved in order to achieve the best practice," he said.

He explained that his visit to Batam was to follow up the President`s directives on the readiness of the customs and excise offices for the development of FTZs.

"We want to make the areas to become economic zones focusing on industry and exports," he said.

In the meeting with the Riau Island provincial governor and the Batam Authority Chief, the finance minister said they supported the efforts of the Customs and Excise office to fight smuggle attempts.

"The Governor will discuss the matter with regional chiefs. Smuggle attempts must be prevented and stopped," the finance minister.