Infrastructure conference finally gets go-ahead

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia is due to hold its twice-delayed 2nd infrastructure conference and exhibition in November in an effort to drum up much needed private-sector investment to bring the country's woefully inadequate infrastructure into the 21st century.

Titled Indonesia Infrastructure 2006, the conference will be held from Nov 1-3, and will include a two-day forum and workshop on Indonesia's infrastructure needs in which senior decision makers from the government, industry and international agencies will address a variety of strategic issues.

Participants from the technical, commercial, legal and financial sectors will attend the event.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono said in a press statement Tuesday that the government would announce new investment rules and policies during the conference.

"At the conference, presentations will be made by officials from the relevant ministries on the projects on offer and the new rules," he said.

Meanwhile, Suyono Dikun, the deputy for infrastructure to the coordinating minister, said that it was expected that a number of new regulations and laws would be put in place before the conference.

The new rules would replace regulations dating back to 1967, and would seek to improve legal standards, ease restrictive central and local government interference, and reduce the length of time required to set up a business to about 30 days compared to 150 days at present.

Dikun said that over the coming five years, Indonesia would need about Rp 600 trillion (about US$63 billion) in new investment in the infrastructure sector.

"We hope that between Rp 120 trillion and Rp 150 trillion of this will come from the private sector," he said.

He added that the coordinating ministry, in collaboration with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and the National Development Planning Board (Bapenas), was drawing up a list of infrastructure projects that would be offered during the conference.

The government offered about 91 projects valued at $22 billion during an earlier conference, titled the Infrastructure Summit, in January last year. Disappointingly, only one of those projects has been completed, and only five others are currently underway.

Besides the forum and workshop, the three-day event will also feature an exhibition in which leading companies will get the opportunity to showcase their products and services.

Individual one-to-one meetings with the exhibitors will be arranged for interested parties.

Kadin deputy chairman Chris Kanter said that so far, 375 participants had registered to participate in the conference, while 80 local and international companies would take part in the exhibition.(07)
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