Thu, 03 Aug 2000

Yemeni investors build palm oil plant in North Sumatra

MEDAN, N. Sumatra (JP): State Minister of Investment and State Enterprises Development Rozy Munir praised the two palm oil factories built by Yemeni investors in the Medan industrial estate as a vote of confidence in Indonesia's future despite the multidimensional crisis the country currently is mired in.

"I am quite delighted to be here to dedicate these two investment projects, which were undertaken at a time when most foreign investors wait in worry and shun Indonesia," Munir said during the inauguration of the two plants on Tuesday.

The Hayel Saeed Anam Group of Yemen invested about US$20 million in PT Pacific Palmindo Industri, which is capable of processing 1,000 metric tons of crude palm oil into stearin, olein and fatty acid, and PT Oleochem & Soap Industri, which manufactures soap, glycerine and olein-based chemicals.

Munir said Hayel Saeed's investment clearly showed there were numerous viable investment opportunities in Indonesia despite the crisis the country currently faces.

"I hope other investors, notably those from the Middle East, will follow the bold step taken by the Hayel Saeed group," he said.

The president of the Hayel Saeed Group, Ali Muhammed Saeed, said his company believed in Indonesia's future despite the problems currently besetting the country.

"We have decided to make Indonesia the base of our industries overseas," Ali said during the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by several diplomats.

He also expressed his appreciation for the expediency with which the government licensed the investment projects.

"We will continue to look into other investment opportunities in this country," he added.

Munir acknowledged a steep decline in foreign investor interest in Indonesia, but he said this was a temporary phenomenon that would disappear as soon as the country overcame its difficulties.

"We have expedited the licensing procedures for both domestic and foreign investment ventures, and have empowered provincial administrations to issue all kinds of investment permits," he said, adding that it now took 10 days at the most to obtain all the necessary permits for an investment project.

North Sumatra Governor T. Rizal Nurdin promised to provide any additional support the Hayel Saeed group required to ensure its business in the province was a success.

"Since we received the authority to issue investment licenses last October, we have so far approved 10 domestic and 13 foreign investment projects in North Sumatra," Nurdin said.

He added that the provincial investment office took about three days to complete all the permits required by investors.

Nurdin also said the agro-based industry was one of the most promising sectors for new investment in the province. (vin)