Foreign ministry to play role in promoting investment

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Foreign Ministry intends to play a greater role in promoting trade, tourism and investment on the international stage by holding a series of investor forums to showcase the untapped potential of Indonesia's regions.

"Through these forums, we are hoping to use our diplomacy to promote mutually beneficial economic transactions," Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said Thursday during the launch of the first "Update from the Regions" forum.

"This forum will also promote interaction between the diplomatic community, businesspeople and local administrations," he said.

The launch of the forum was attended by ambassadors from some 30 countries, mainly from the Middle East, Europe and Africa, as well as representatives of national and international business associations.

Riau province, located near Singapore, has been chosen as the first province to be featured by the forums, which are to be held regularly.

Riau, which produces oil, gas, crude palm oil, and pulp and paper, has become a major destination for foreign and domestic investors.

According to data from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), foreign investment in Riau amounted to about US$1.8 billion last year, the second biggest amount among the country's 33 provinces. Meanwhile, domestic investment in the province reached Rp 20.8 trillion (about $2.3 billion), the third biggest.

Riau Governor Rusli Zainal said that his administration had taken steps to create a more favorable climate for investment, including the setting up of a coordinating team to handle all bureaucratic problems.

The team, which comprised representatives of the provincial administration, the police, and immigration, customs and tax services, would work together to ensure that the province would become widely known as a good place to do business.

"We have also established a program called 'Riau Vision 2020', which focuses on poverty eradication, human resources development and infrastructure improvements, so as to support economic growth in our province," he said.

He added that his administration planned to organize an investment summit in the provincial capital, Pekanbaru, in September to provide more detailed information on investment opportunities in the province.(04)
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