Decline in foreign investment due to "bad luck": presidential spokesman

Jakarta (Antara News) - The decline in realized foreign invstment projects in the January-October 2006 period by 47.6 percent compared to a corresponding period last year was more caused by "bad luck" than anything else, presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said here Thursday

"There has indeed been a decline in foreign investment. Sometimes we are lucky, sometimes we are unlucky. We however continue to convey the message to investors that Indonesia is a good place to invest in," Dino told the press at the presidential office here Thursday.

Dino was asked why it was that the value of foreign investment had yet to increase after the country had been ruled by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s government for two years while the head of state had continuously tried to improve the investment climate and visited many countries to attract investors.

Dino said the president`s visits to several countries were among other things aimed at explaining the improved conditions in Indonesia in the hope that more foreign investors would sink their capital in Indonesia.

However, he said, foreign investors could not be forced to invest in Indonesia as they would first see what benefits they would gain and what the investment climate in the country was like.

"The president continues to invite foreign investors to Indonesia but they cannot be forced to come as they will first consider the returns on investment and the investment climate in Indonesia," he said.

Dino shrugged off the notion that the decline in the foreign investment value was proof the government had failed in the economic sector, arguing that the country`s macro-economic conditions this year had improved and were gaining in stablity.

"This year, the economy is predicted to grow by 5.6 percent, the country`s debt rating and our foreign exchange reserves are also good. So, there is a lot of good news indicating that our economic conditions are good," he said.

According to data released by the National Investment Coordinating Agency (BKPM), the value of foreign investment in Indonesia has dropped by 47.6 percent. Despite the decrease, the number of workers absorbed by the foreign investment sector in 2006 had increased compared to that in 2005.

As many as 191,473 new workers were recruited during the January-October period in 2006 compared with 133,011 in 2005.

Meanwhile, the value of domestic investment during the January-October period in 2006 reached Rp13.55 trillion in 128 projects representing a decrease by Rp3.09 trillion or 18.57 percent compared with the figures reorded for the same period in 2005.(*)
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