House, govt meet to discuss key bill

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

As the deadline for the passage of the investment bill draws near, members of House of Representatives' Commission VI and government representatives in charge of steering the bill through the House held an informal meeting Monday evening to hammer out an agreement on the remaining points of contention.

"In respect of the Nyepi holiday, we decided to postpone our meeting to Thursday, but hold an informal meeting Monday night to arrive at a meeting of minds on the last two remaining issues," Hasto Kristanto, from the PDIP faction, told The Jakarta Post by telephone Monday.

However, the outcome of the meeting will not be disclosed until after Thursday's formal meeting.

House members and the government have been pushing for the completion of the deliberations by the March 27 deadline, when a plenary session is scheduled to pass the bill into law.

The House is set to go on recess at the start of next month.

Another factor that made the informal meeting necessary is the fact that some of committee members are scheduled to go on official overseas trips later this week.

During their last meeting last week, the government and the committee agreed on two remaining key issues -- investment incentives and the position of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) within the government.

Under the agreement, investors eligible for incentives include those who invest in labor intensive industries, promote technology transfers, invest in pioneering industries, invest in rural areas, team up with small and medium enterprises, use local production capital, or invest in environmentally friendly projects, government infrastructure projects, and in science research and innovation.

The BKPM, which is currently under the Trade Ministry, is to be elevated into a non-departmental government institution that reports directly to the President.

However, two other issues surfaced at the end of the discussions when the house members conducting a last wording check on all 39 articles of the bill, and on the elucidation.

Some of the members of Commission VI demanded that the elucidation refer to the goal of economic democracy, as stipulated in People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Decree No. 16/1998, and article 33 of the Constitution on economic democracy.

"What we want to see is that all investments are in line with the goals of the country, one of which is to ensure prosperity for all. Hence, all investments must be based on the principals of economic democracy, as enshrined in our constitution," legislator Hasto Kristiyanto said.

"We want to make sure that this law is aimed at ensuring the prosperity of all Indonesian people, and that foreign investment is merely a tool to achieve that goal," he added.

Despite the remaining issues, Commission XI chairman Didik J Rachbini told the Post he was optimistic that the draft would be finalized on time.

"The issues are no longer about substance but more about wording. All members have agreed that the draft must be finalized this month before the House goes on recess. There is no doubt about that," Didik said.
_________________________ Indonesian Business and Investment News Aggregator