From Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia to use IMF/World Bank meetings to woo international investors
By Channel NewsAsia's Indonesia Bureau Chief Sujadi Siswo | Posted: 08 September 2006 2334 hrs

JAKARTA : Indonesia plans to use the high profile IMF/World Bank meetings in Singapore next week to woo international investors.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has told Channel NewsAsia that the country's economic team will stage an Indonesia Day during the event to raise awareness about efforts to improve Indonesia's investment climate.

The IMF/World Bank meetings in Singapore will be attended by the who's who of the international financial community.

And Indonesia is keen to use this opportunity to improve its image and woo global investors.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani admits that Indonesia's image is still tarnished by corruption and inefficient bureaucracy.

"The most difficult part is to change the image because the news about Indonesia in the last five to seven years is only about the corrupt government. We want to give a new face to Indonesia, and we are fixing and trying to address lots of problems," says Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani.

High unemployment and increasing poverty are two of the problems the Indonesian government is grappling with.

The Yudhoyono government is certain the key to solving these issues is economic growth. And to do this, it desperately needs foreign investment.

However tax and legal red tape have left Indonesia as one of the most difficult places in the world to do business.

A recent World Bank survey on ease of doing business ranked Indonesia 135th out of 175 countries.

And Jakarta wants to convince the world's financial movers and shakers that Indonesia is serious about reforming its economy and easing its rigid tax regimes.

"What we want to present is that we're adopting a very good policy, a policy which I think has been perceived as the prescription to make the country grow and be prosperous, relating to infrastructure development, investments and non-bank financial institutions," says the Indonesian Finance Minister.

These policies have given Jakarta a sense of optimism with the government aiming for 6.2% growth.

Indonesia is also setting up at least five special economic zones across the country to attract foreign investment.

The first is in the Riau Islands which is being jointly developed with neighbouring Singapore.

- CNA /ls
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