SBY reprimands officials for not helping businesses

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A lack of support from government officials, both at the national and local levels, is damaging the country's business climate and discouraging investors from starting new businesses, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Friday.

"I hear that some bureaucrats in the capital and regions are still making it difficult for investors to obtain business permits," Yudhoyono said at the State Palace.

He said that these officials were hampering the government's drive to improve the real sector so as to provide more employment and reduce poverty.

"I've been reminding government officials for more than three years that they must facilitate businesspeople. Although there have been some improvements, I'm not satisfied yet," the President was quoted by Antara as saying.

He encouraged entrepreneurs whose businesses were obstructed by government officials to send complaints to P.O. Box number 9949 so that the government could respond.

Yudhoyono said government officials should facilitate micro, small and medium enterprises by giving them access to capital and eliminating illegal or unofficial fees.

"I expect local administrations to help entrepreneurs who have small-scale, creative businesses to obtain capital and not have to face a lot of levies," he said.

He added that small and medium enterprises needed to copyright their products with the Justice Ministry so that they could not be hijacked by others.

"Nowadays, creative products have high cultural and economic value. Therefore, they must be copyrighted," Yudhoyono said.

Separately, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono said the government would not offer tax holidays to foreign investors.

Instead, it would focus on improving fundamental factors, such as creating economic stability, introducing better regulations, improving the customs service and overhauling the country's infrastructure.

"If infrastructure is not improved and the electricity supply, for example, is unreliable, investors won't be interested in doing business here, even if we do give them tax holidays," Boediono said.

He said that Government Regulation No. 1/2007, which offers a 30 percent reduction in taxable corporate income for companies operating in designated sectors and regions, would help attract investors as it reduced their investment costs.

He said that only investors from Japan were interested in tax holidays, while investors from other countries, such as the United States, were more interested in improvements in the fundamental factors underlying the business climate. (adt)
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