Determined to keep abreast of affairs throughout the country, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon has installed a 'situation room' at the Presidential Palace. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

President assures global crisis not to affect agriculture budget

Cibodas, W Java,  (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono assured on Sunday that the current global financial crisis will not affect budget allocation to the country`s agricultural sector next year. 

Speaking at the second jamboree and festival of agriculture information officers here, the president said agricultural subsidy in 2009 would be the same as this year. 

"Last year the agricultural subsidy stood at Rp29 trillion. Next year it will remain at Rp33 trillion despite the global financial crisis," he said. 

The Rp33 trillion subsidy would be used among others to procure subsidized seeds and fertilizers and to maintain irrigation networks, he said. 

The president further reiterated the government`s commitment to regain self-sufficiency in rice production. 

He expressed gratitude to farmers and agriculture information officers for their hard work, enabling the country to raise its rice production by an average of 5 percent over the past four years.


President meets with traditional kings and sultans

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here Saturday met with traditional kings and sultans grouped in the Nusantara Forum of Palaces and called on them to help safeguard the country`s national heritages. 

"Indonesia has a variety of cultures, arts and civilizations which show the greatness of the country. As the head of state, I expect all kings and sultans to play a role in preserving and developing the national heritages ," he said. 

He said the development of national heritages included development of cultures, traditions and wisdoms. "You all can also play a role in national development in all fields," he said. 

He said the traditional rulers` participation in national development would contribute much to the nation. 

On the occasion the President also called on all royal entities in the country to develop tourism- and arts-based economies. 

"Indonesia has the capital to do it. Develop all the existing economic potentials and thus make contributions to the nation," he said. 

He said the results of economic development could be used to pay the cost of maintaining the cultural centers existing in the regions. 

The Nusantara Palace forum was established in 2006 with 57 member palaces. Now the number of its members has risen to 118 palaces. 

King Ida Tjokorda Ngurah Jambe Pamecutan IX from the Denpasar Grand Temple who is the forum`s chairman said on the occasion that the traditional palaces were one of the means to develop national culture. 

This was why the forum`s members believed they needed to maintain their community in a spirit of fraternity, he said. 

King Ida also said the forum would stage a palace expo from December 25 through December 30 to be participated in by its 118 members. 

Attending the meeting with the president were traditional kings from Riau, Riau Islands, South Sumatra, West Sumatra, Lampung, Madura, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Maluku and West Papua.


Terrorists are on the move: RI Military Chief

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 11/29/2008 6:14 PM  

Indonesian Military Chief Gen. Djoko Santoso said Saturday that global and regional terrorists were on the move, posing a threat to Indonesia. 

"Admittedly, the threat of terrorism looms in this country," he said, as quoted by Antara news agency, in Blitar, East Java. 

Santoso said the threats the country faced were in the form of both physical and nonphysical violence, such as telephone threats. 

"Terrorism has hit Mumbai and Thailand. We personally have assessed the threats and seek to eradicate it at the roots so as to ride out its challenges," said the former Army chief of staff. 

The Indonesian Military has been working together with the police in the capital as well as in regions fighting corruption, he "We also need the help of the public in supporting our efforts to combat terrorism in Indonesia," Santoso said. (amr)


Related Articles:

'High time to come together': India's Patil

Narrow escape for Unilever bosses caught up in the terror of Bombay



Saturday, November 29, 2008

Government preparing export financing facility

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is preparing an export financing facility to generate export activities which have been slowing down due to tight banking liquidity as a result of global financial crisis.    

"We have met with Bank Indonesia (BI) officials, bankers and exporters several times to discuss the export financing facility," Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said here on Friday.    

Band Indonesia (the central bank) is ready to issue a financing facility for goods that had been delivered in order to help exporters  in case they faced payment failure, the minister said.    

The facility which is called export draft re-discount with recourse will assist banks in obtaining liquidity from the letter of credits (L/C) that had been issued, she said.    

"It will reduce the risks exporters might suffer," the trade minister said.    

Besides, the government is also preparing an other export financing facility for goods before being delivered. It is aimed at assisting exporters to obtain funds for purchasing raw materials.    

"The matter is now being studied while banks are also studying the possibility of obtaining access to international financing institutions," Mari E Pangestu said.    

For the purpose, the government is promoting bilateral and regional cooperation between banks and the Indonesian central bank.    

The trade minister said that the export financing facility would be used for all export-oriented sectors, including small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (SME).    

Export financing facility is important to assure the smoothness of export activities which have begun to be affected by tight bank liquidity in the world.    

"In essence, we want to find a way so that countries, including  international financial institutions such as the World Bank, IFC and other institutions, are willing to cooperate in supporting export financing," the minister said.    

She said that even though the form of cooperation in the export financing was not yet clear, the IFC had taken the initiatives to increase three times the funds for the domestic banking guarantee.


Regency proves how transparency leads to wealth

Astrid Wijaya, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 11/28/2008 10:48 AM  

Former bureaucracies have stubbornly resisted supplying the public with government information, but a number of regional governments, including the Lebak administration in Banten, are reaping rewards for their openness. 

Lebak Regent Mulyadi Jayabaya told public officials attending a discussion in Jakarta on Thursday his administration had increased regional revenue seven-fold and investment by 35 times since it enacted an ordinance requiring government agencies to ensure the public had easy access to information. 

Formerly a businessman, Mulyadi said he knew the plight investors had to go through in applying for business permits. 

"At local government offices today people can see a board hanging on the wall, displaying the number of permits required to establish a new business and the price list and where the money flows," Mulyadi said. 

The initiative proved fruitfull. Investment skyrocketed to Rp 6 trillion this year from Rp 168 billion in 2004, while regional revenue climbed to nearly Rp 80 billion from Rp 10.7 billion in 2004. 

"Transparency has bolstered investors' trust in the local economy," Mulyadi said. 

"I used to be a businessman, so I learned to establish policies that do not burden the business sector." 

Under Regional Ordinance No. 6/2004, the public is allowed to monitor regional budgets, including spending and revenue. 

The bylaw requires all public officials in the regency to provide all information requested by members of the community without exception. 

Officials who hide information or charge money to share it will receive a six-month suspension. 

The bylaw on transparency inspired the drafting of a bill on public access to information that was passed by the House of Representatives in April this year. 

However, a debate continues to be waged over a section of the bill that allows state secrets to be withheld from the public. 

The government is drafting regulations to implement the law, which will be ratified in 2010. 

Director General of Communication Services and Information Dissemination at the Information and Communications Ministry, Freddy H. Tulung, said the government regulation would determine how long the government was allowed to withhold secret information as well as the compensation for individuals whose rights to see information had been denied. 

"The principle of the law is maximum access but limited exemptions. So, there are still some areas of information that the government considers secret," he told the forum. 

The government is now familiarizing the law with government officials and the public. 

"Though, we must admit that changing a paradigm is hard because people, especially government officials, maintain a feudalistic way of thinking," Freddy said. 

"By giving the public access to information, it will accelerate efforts to prevent corruption and nepotism and promote good governance."


Shaanxi investors seeking Indonesian partners

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 11/28/2008 10:47 AM  

Fleeing fallout from the U.S.-led financial crisis, businesses in China's Shaanxi province are seeking ties with Indonesian partners to support their industrial projects, which are worth expected to be US$6.8 billion. 

More than 10 projects are being offered to Indonesian businesses, ranging from those in the infrastructure, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and electronic sectors, said first executive president of the Association of Indonesia-China Economic and Cultural Cooperation, Sudradjat D.P, on Thursday. 

The projects to be developed in Indonesia would produce raw materials and other unfinished products for factories in Shaanxi, he said. 

"Potential Shaanxi investment in Indonesia may reach over $1.3 billion to support the projects in Shaanxi," he said Thursday on the sidelines of a Shaanxi-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation forum. 

"A number of business deals are expected to be signed very soon during their (Shaanxi businessmen's) short trip." 

According to data from the Shaanxi administration, as of last year, investment in Shaanxi key projects stood at $399.05 million in agriculture, $268.85 million in auto parts, $155.64 million in electronics, $111.37 million in textiles and garments, $517.53 million in mining, $596.82 million in construction materials and $4.04 billion in chemical and energy. 

The Chinese government is encouraging investment in Shaanxi-based businesses as the global economic turndown has hammered the country's export-driven economy, said vice secretary-general of the Association of Indonesia-China Economic and Cultural Cooperation Gondo Soebedjo. 

He said the Chinese government had set up an investment board specifically to anticipate the impacts of the global crisis on the country. 

Indonesian Chinese Entrepreneur Association vice secretary-general Richard Tan said that at first, the Shaanxi delegation, which comprises more than 100 businessmen, would learn about trade opportunities with Indonesian traders. 

"Investment opportunities will become available automatically once the trades go smoothly," Richard said. 

In September, businesses from Indonesia and the Chinese province of Guangdong finalized 30 deals worth a total $597 million. 

According to data from the Guangdong Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, the trade volume between Indonesia and the province reached $5.19 billion in 2007, 32.8 percent higher than in the previous year. 

The total trade volume between the two countries stood at $19 billion as of July. It is projected to reach $30 billion by 2010.


Government to set up infrastructure fund

Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 11/28/2008 10:50 AM  

In a move expected to stimulate economic growth, the government will set up an institution to manage a pool of funds to support the financing of infrastructure projects, the National Planning Board (Bappenas) said Thursday. 

The funds will come from the government and donors, Bappenas deputy for infrastructure development, Dedy Supriadi Priatna, said. 

"We are calling it the infrastructure fund. It will be launched in February and will begin operating in April next year," Dedy said during a seminar titled "Solution for Power Plant Project Financing". 

Dedy said the government would work with multinational donors such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. 

"So far, about US$600 million in funds has been gathered. The government is contributing about Rp 1 trillion ($82.65 million). We expect to own between 15 and 20 percent of the company," Dedy said. 

Although the amount pooled to date is not considered enough to finance infrastructure, the government expects more funds to be generated once the institution is operational, he said. 

The function of the institution will be to support investors wishing to engage in infrastructure projects, particularly those investors who fail to secure bank loans after winning a project. 

"Project winners often fail to get bank loans because of the lack of funds. Most banks require loan applicants to put up at least 30 percent for their proposed projects. Most infrastructure businesspeople here have only about 10 percent of the equity," Dedy said. 

"We hope the infrastructure fund will help them in this regard." 

The government estimates about US$65 billion will be needed in new infrastructure investment in the next three years. With government funding limited, the private sector is expected to play a crucial role. 

State Minister for State Enterprises Sofyan A. Djalil has said state companies will push ahead with their infrastructure projects to help keep the economy running next year. 

The lack of infrastructure development in Indonesia is frequently cited by investors as being detrimental to economic growth. New infrastructure projects such as roads, power stations and telecommunications networks are expected to help generate greater economic activity and growth. 

Meanwhile, the ADB confirmed it is helping the government to improve the nation's infrastructure. 

In a statement released Thursday, the agency said it was providing an additional $280 million loan to support reforms in Indonesia's infrastructure sector. 

It said the loan would be used to fund programs seeking to encourage private sector participation and help improve the investment climate.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Overseas demand for Indonesian workers stays high

Astrid Wijaya, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/26/2008 10:47 AM  

The ongoing global financial crisis will not reap havoc on the demand for Indonesian migrant workers, particularly in Kuwait, the United States and Canada, an official said. 

According to the promotion director of Manpower Replacement and Protection (BNP2TKI) Endang Sulistyaningsih, opportunity for Indonesian laborers to work abroad remains high, with the U.S. and Canada in need of about one million nurses and care-givers. 

"I just came back from the U.S., and they said they are seeking up to one million nurses before 2020," Endang told Antara. 

Endang added that the demand for care-givers in the U.S. and Canada was on the rise due to the huge population of elderly citizens. 

"Opportunities for our citizens to work abroad remain high, but the biggest challenge comes from language proficiency. We still lag behind the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh, but only because English is an official language in those countries," she said. 

On its official website (www.Bnptki2.go.id), BNP2TKI said that, through a private manpower recruitment company, Kuwait had requested 12,000 nurses from Indonesia for 2009. 

"This is a hard work to deal with in 2009," BNP2TKI head Muh. Jumhur Hidayat said, after a meeting with the company's chief executive in Kuwait on Monday. 

According to the latest data from the Central Statistics Bureau there are 5 million Indonesian migrant workers across the world. The bureau has predicted the number will grow by 700,000 to 1 million next year. 

BNP2TKI data showed that the total combined remittance of migrant workers increased from US$3.42 billion in 2006 to $5.84 billion last year. In the first four months of 2008, the figure already stood at $2.23 billion. 

Canada is deemed the best potential market for Indonesian workers. Yonas Karyanto, the general manager of labor supplier PT Yonasindo Intra Pratama, said Tuesday that, at the end of the year, the North American country had requested 500 skilled Indonesian workers. The company has managed to send just 15 people so far, as the rest failed to meet the Canadian Embassy's qualifications. 

Yonas said Canadian employers would pay their Indonesian employees salary equal to that given to local workers. (iwp)


Yudhoyono Invites Obama to Indonesia

Wednesday, 26 November, 2008 | 19:36 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, NAGOYA:President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono invited president-elect Barack Obama to visit Indonesia next year, when Singapore will hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. 

“When I invited him, he said it was very important to stop by in Indonesia, not just to increase cooperation but also to enjoy bakso (meatballs), rambutan fruit and fried rice,” Yudhoyono said at Nagoya Airport, Japan, yesterday, transiting on his way back from the Americas. 

SBY’s talks with Obama lasted around six minutes when the presidential refuelled at Seattle, Washington state on Monday local time. The president had just visited Peru and was flying to Jakarta through Nagoya. 

“He said, 'Apa kabar, Bapak Presiden' (How are you, Mister President) in fluent Indonesian,” Yudhoyono said. 

In turn, the president congratulated Obama for winning the presidency. He and Obama agreed that the two countries needed to improve their relations. “The talks were warm and friendly,” Yudhoyono said. 

In an interview with the US press during his campaign, before the fuss about the ‘Besuki Islamic School’, Obama had wanted to visit Indonesia during the first 100 days of his presidency. Obama lived in Jakarta when he was six until he was ten years old, where his mother settled when she married Lolo Sutoro, an Indonesian. 

He attended the Menteng 01 Elementary Public School, also known as the Besuki Elementary School. The US media press thought it was an Islamic school, and sent their reporters to Jakarta. 

Presidential spokesman, Dino Patti Djalal said the telephone conversation was scheduled before Yudhoyono left the country on November 13 to attend the G-20 group meeting in Washington, DC, before heading for Mexico, Brazil and Peru, venue of the 16th APEC meeting.  

BAMBANG HARYMURTI (NAGOYA) | ANTARA


News Analysis: Dream or reality: RI’s role on the world stage in 2025

Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/26/2008 7:18 AM  

How refreshing to hear someone else — someone other than Indonesia itself, that is analytically touting this country’s potentially important international role in the coming decade.

For once, the wherewithal that makes Indonesia an indolent giant is not being overlooked. 

Indonesia was not the central subject in the U.S. National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) report Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World released Friday. But it featured noticeably as a tier-two up-and-coming power. 

The 99-page report identified key drivers likely to shape world events in the future. It concluded with a picture already taking shape: A multipolar world highlighted by declining U.S. hegemony and Europe as a hobbled giant, while emerging powers China, India and Russia assume a more dominant role. 

The report’s significance for Indonesia was not only that it was referred to about half a dozen times, but also in the way it compared to other countries in this region that currently boast higher levels of economic development. 

Singapore, for example, was fleetingly mentioned in reference to state capitalism, while Malaysia was touched upon as a country whose produc-tion of natural resources has flattened. 

Indonesia, on the other hand, was described as an entity whose political and economic power is expected to increase. 

“Although the rise of no other state can equal the impact of the rise of such populous states as China and India, other countries with potentially high-performing economies — Iran, Indonesia, and Turkey, for example — could play increasingly important roles on the world stage and especially for establishing new patterns in the Muslim world,” the report said. 

Ultimately, size does matter. And size, whether of population or resource wealth, is something that Indonesia has plenty of. 

For a country to have a youthful population maturing into “worker bulges”, especially skilled workers, is an asset almost as advantageous as military might. 

While the NIC report is primarily geared toward American policymakers, it provides valuable insight for Indonesia to position itself in this forecast environment. 

The report acknowledges the rise of Asian regionalism as one of three competing quasi-blocs in the new economy along with North America and Europe. However, the report also notes that internal antagonism “could spur competition among China, India and Japan”. 

Indonesia is, and should continue to be, a force in regional integration. Its focus and resources must be sustained for such efforts. 

There is a clear role to be played as an anchor of stability amid the intra-regional rivalry — a role Indonesia is already playing through ASEAN. But Indonesia can only sustain such efforts as long as it truly “dominates” its own subregional setting. 

This means preponderant leadership and agenda setting without capitulating to second-tier members of ASEAN. 

Competition between the regional clusters further opens up the opportunity for Jakarta to serve as a mediator between them. As the third largest country in the region, Indonesia holds a respected place among its Asian peers. At the same time, as the world’s third largest democracy, it is also a strategic ambassador in the battle of values. 

The report maintains that democratization will advance, although no new wave is expected.

Hence Indonesia’s presence as a stronghold of democracy in a sea of Asian authoritarian capitalist regimes is magnified. 

But potential is only as good as its eventual realization and the report also makes it clear that Indonesia’s performance will depend on whether it can replicate its success at political reform with measures to spur the economy. 

“With abundant natural resources and a large population of potential consumers, Indonesia could rise economically if its elected leaders take steps to improve the investment climate, including strengthening the legal system, improving the regulatory framework, reforming the financial sector, reducing fuel and food subsidies, and generally lowering the cost of doing business.” 

Failure would mean not only that Indonesia will become just one of many, but also that the potential dream could turn into a nightmare. 

As President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono rightly observed over the weekend, the future population could also become a threat if left poor and disenchanted.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Seven New Modern Tax Offices Officially Opened

Monday, 24 November, 2008 | 14:31 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, Bukittinggi: Finance Minister Sri Mulyani officially opened seven regional modern offices of the Tax Directorate General throughout Indonesia, on Monday morning (24/11) in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra. 

The seven are the regional tax offices for: West Sumatra and Jambi; Bengkulu and Lampung; South and Central Kalimantan; West Kalimantan; North and Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo and North Maluku; Nusa Tenggara; Papua and Maluku. 

The Minister also launched 88 tax service offices with modern services and 135 offices for tax counseling and consultants in 10 regions throughout Indonesia. 

Speaking at a press conference in the palace of Dr. Mohammad Hatta in Bukittingi, on Sunday evening (23/11), Tax Director General Darmin Nasution said the launching of new offices was part of the program to modernize vertical units throughout Indonesia. 

“A tax office becoming a modern office means we have reached a level of improvement and preparedness. We have changed the organizational structure,” he said. 

“The organizational structure in former-style tax offices is based on kinds of tax like property tax, tax for luxury goods, and income tax. While modern-style offices are based on the tax functions with different people for service, examination, and law enforcement,” added Darmin. 

He went on to say that different people for different sorts of work will make tax offices operate optimally. 

“So we can provide full services as well as enforce the law,” said Darmin. 

This year, the government has targeted revenues from the tax sector totaling Rp535 trillion. 

Darmin said he felt that this revenue target could be exceeded by five percent. 

Febrianti

Reduced budget deficit forecast for 2008: Government

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 11/21/2008 2:13 PM  

Indonesia's budget deficit is forecast to drop to 1.1 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) this year due to lower-than-expected spending and a rise in tax revenues, the Finance Ministry says. 

"The realization of expenditure throughout the year is forecast to reach 90 percent *of the budget*, while we project tax revenue will reach 105 percent. Therefore, we project only a 1.1 percent deficit," Anggito Abimanyu, the ministry's head of fiscal policy, said Thursday. 

The ministry has earlier predicted a deficit of 1.9 percent of GDP, or Rp 90.6 trillion. 

Tax revenue makes up about 70 percent of state revenue, which is projected to reach Rp 894.99 trillion in the 2008 budget. 

A lower deficit means the government could cut issuance of bonds at a time when market appetite has decreased towards financial instruments, due to the global financial crisis. 

The government has cut the amount of net bonds issuance required from Rp 117.79 trillion to Rp 115.79 trillion. It bought back Rp 327 billion of bonds on Nov. 12, its second repurchase in two weeks, to restore investors' confidence. It bought back Rp 41 billion of bonds on Oct. 30. 

Anggito added the government had a surplus in its balance, meaning that available funds could be used to fund the 2009 budget. 

"In 2009, the conditions are uncertain. An economic slowdown may adjust the 2009 forecast." 

The government has provided a total of Rp 12.5 trillion in incentives -- mostly in the form of reduction or elimination of taxes and import duties -- to industries next year to stimulate the real sector. 

Only industries operating in the food, energy, public service and selected sectors will receive such benefits, Anggito said. 

The ministry expects Indonesia's economy to grow by slightly above 6 percent in 2008, after estimating the budget conditions. "The economy this quarter will be slightly below 6 percent, but overall 2008 (economic growth) will be above 6 percent." 

According to the Central Statistics Agency, the economy grew by 6.3 percent in the first nine months of 2008.


Indonesian growth forecast to slide to 2.5 percent

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 11/24/2008 11:36 AM  

Indonesia's economy will still end up this year with a forecast growth in gross domestic product of nearly 6 percent mainly on the back of robust expansion in the first three quarters. 

However, as the global financial crisis has been getting worse since September and economic recession has spread from the United States to Europe and Japan, analysts have been constantly revising downward their forecasts on Indonesia's economic outlook. 

Only about ten days ago, Justin Wood, the Economist Intelligence Unit's director for Southeast Asia, forecast a 3.7 percent economic expansion for Indonesia next year. 

This, he acknowledged, was below the consensus forecast of economists. 

But President of PT UBS Securities Indonesia Sarah-Jane Wagg, in an interview with The Jakarta Post's Vincent Lingga last week, came up with an even lower estimate, forecasting that Southeast Asia's largest economy would expand by a mere 2.5 percent, a nine-year low. 

The following are excerpts from the interview: Question: 

What do you think will be the outlook of Indonesia's economy next year? 

Answer: Given our global recession call, we are expecting Indonesian growth to moderate quite significantly, falling to 2.5 percent in 2009 from an estimated 5.8 percent this year. The prices of almost all primary commodities are falling and investments would be very weak. 

But I think there are virtually no downside risks to this forecast, meaning that would be the bottom. 

What will be the key drivers? 

Private consumption will remain the locomotive. However, the cyclical downturn alongside the tightening liquidity we are already seeing will affect investment growth. It will be difficult for private investment for exogenous and endogenous reasons. 

Globally, there is a flight of capital away from developing economies and Indonesia will not remain unscathed. 

Access to financing is already being made difficult for corporations, as the Bakrie Brothers episode is demonstrating. 

Domestically, a tightening liquidity situation, given the rapid credit expansion in the previous three quarters and keener competition for funding (meaning higher costs) is also putting new lending on hold, thus impacting private investment in a similar fashion 

Growth in Bank lending will slow significantly from the current 35 percent annual rate to 10 percent or even lower in 2009. 

How do you see the rupiah will perform next year? 

I think it may take two quarters before imbalances such as the high lending activity and corrections on imports translate into a small current account surplus, especially because export growth is likely to continue to decline and trade volume growth is expected to fall further, while the prices of most primary commodities will remain low. 

Until then, as the economic numbers turn significantly weaker, the risk of capital withdrawal and currency weakness remains. 

The government should make it compulsory for all on-shore transactions to be in rupiah. I think there would not be much leeway for Bank Indonesia to lower its benchmark interest rate because a significant easing of the monetary stance could affect the rupiah. 

The differentials between the BI Rate and the U.S. Fed funds should be kept relatively high to encourage investors and depositors to hold onto their rupiah assets. 

We expect the current rupiah overshoot to recover to Rp 9,800 per dollar by end 2009.

That about the Indonesian stock exchange? 

Sorry, its almost an impossible call as the current trading level is totally divorced from the fundamentals of the economy. 

What are the prospects for government and corporate bonds? 

New government and corporate bond issuance will remain difficult in our view until global liquidity eases more significantly and global currency fluctuations stabilize (in part reflecting the end of capital repatriation on a large scale back to the American dollar) and risk appetite thus returns. 

However, investors would still be interested in both corporate and government bonds at the right prices, meaning that investors would demand high yields, perhaps as high as 16 percent. 

Bonds from extremely well managed companies operating in sectors with high-growth prospects in the future still have a good chance on the market.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oct 27 Declared National Bloggers Day In Indonesia

By Mohd Nasir Yusoff , Malaysia National News Agency

JAKARTA, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- In line with its aim to bring its people up to speed in the digital age, Indonesia has declared Oct 27 as National Bloggers Day, the republic's Information and Communications Ministry announced in conjunction with the Bloggers Carnival 2008 here Saturday. 

The ministry's director-general for applications, Cahyana Ahmadijaya said blogs in Indonesia were mushrooming not only for fun (blogfun) but also for business (blogpreneurs) and that the trend would continue exponentially in future. 

Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Ministry also wanted bloggers help promote tourism to the country. 

"This carnival provides and excellent networking opportunity to promote tourism effectively," said its minister Jero Wacik. The text of his speech was read out by the ministry's director-general for tourism destinations development, Firmansyah Rahim. 

Meanwhile, Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman assured bloggers that government would not restrict their freedom but they must not flout the republic's laws. 

Some 1,000 bloggers turned up for the carnival including Jeff Ooi of Malaysia , who is also the Member of Parliament for Jelutong in Penang, and Singapore's Mr Brown. 

-- BERNAMA

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yudhoyono says tackling poverty key to stability

The Jakarta Post | Sat, 11/22/2008 6:20 PM  

The keynote speaker at the APEC CEO Summit 2008 in Peru on Friday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said tackling poverty is key to prevent political instability and safeguard the common future.

"A poor community is an angry community. Three billion people worldwide living on two dollars a day are three billion resentful people. Seven hundred million people suffering from chronic malnutrition are seven hundred million disenchanted citizens," Yudhoyono said as quoted by state news agency Antara on Saturday. 


Indonesia`s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Lima, Peru, November 21, 2008. (Reuters/Enrique Castro)


The head of state made the remarks in  his keynote speech titled "Economic Growth, Inequality and poverty: The Challenges for APEC's Developing  Economies" at the CEO summit, running parallel to an APEC meeting of leaders from 21 Pacific Rim economies which will be held on Nov. 22 and 23, 2008. 

Among the CEOs attending the Summit were Richard Adkerson from Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold, Jack Ma from Alibaba Group, Craig Mundie from Microsoft Corporation, and Nick Reilly of Daewoo Asia who  moderated the meeting. 

Yudhoyono said Indonesia, despite difficult economic times, had managed to make strides in the fight against poverty. 

The country's poverty rate for 2008 was 15.4 percent, down from 16.5 percent in 2007, and from an incredible 42 percent in 1998. 

The poverty figure in Indonesia - using both government and World Bank statistics as yardsticks - was the lowest in 10 years. 

"It is the lowest both in terms of actual numbers and in terms of percentage to the population," he said. 

He underscored the role of business in creating jobs, paying taxes to the government, developing technology, and creating growth. 

APEC has promoted the need for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Asia Pacific and it is thus time for businesses to incorporate CSR into their business strategies and ensure that their business operations take into account the community around them, be environmentally responsible and contribute to development, he said. 

He also said that Indonesia had vast natural resources but those resources were not unlimited. 

"It is the people who have unlimited potential. Economies thrive when driven by people empowered with skills, initiative, and innovation," he said. 

"That is why, even during these tough times, my administration s investing more in education than ever before. Our people - especially our youth - are our real riches. I am particularly pleased that for the first time in our independent history, we have finally been able to reach the long-awaited 20 percent allocation for education in our national budget," he said. 

The country was spending billions of dollars on rural education, rural infrastructures and better healthcare, which were necessary investments for the nation's future, he said, 

The head of state said businesses could also invest in local educational and social programs. 

"Again, this may seem like a cost at first. But who will expose corrupt governments if not a better educated community? You will thank them, and yourselves, later," he said. 

Another reason for investing in education is that it will lead to more innovations in alternative energy, according to Yudhoyono in the CEO summit themed "Growth, Equity and Sustainable Development: Challenges for APEC".

 

Police, BPK ink anti-corruption deal

Astrid Wijaya, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 11/22/2008 12:36 PM  

The National Police and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) have signed a memorandum of understanding on law enforcement measures against corrupt activities alleged in BPK investigations.

BPK chairman Anwar Nasution told the press in Jakarta on Friday that the cooperation aimed at encouraging law enforcement to work with the agency when investigating audit reports. This action, he said, would demonstrate to the public and the international community that Indonesia was serious about fighting corruption.

“This cooperation is a milestone in BPK and police relations. As an auditor, the BPK can only suggest whether or not a case is criminal or not. The police must determine the outcome through their investigations,” he said.

Anwar said under the agreement, the BPK could submit additional evidence to police to avoid cases being suspended at the investigation or prosecution level. 

“As an auditor, sometimes we are not sure what information or evidence police require for their cases. This is what we are going to learn through the agreement,” he said.

National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri welcomed the cooperation, saying police efforts to fight corruption were still far from acceptable due to a lack of staff, facilities and overall action. 

“This cooperation will mean police follow up on audits made by the BPK. I hope this cooperation will encourage good, clean governance,” he said, adding that police would not hesitate to put those guilty of corruption behind bars.

A 2006 survey conducted by Transparency International Indonesia found that the National Police were the most corrupt institution in the country, ahead of the judiciary, the legislature and political parties.

Bambang said that last year, the police handled 250 corruption cases. From the 92 brought before court, the state lost Rp 170 billion (US$13.6 million) of which only Rp 15 billion was retrieved by the police. 

Up until October this year, the police had already handled 167 corruption cases and brought 78 before the courts. Despite their being less cases, state losses increased to Rp 198 billion, although police managed to save nearly Rp 42 billion, a marked improvement on last year. 

Anwar said that between 2004 and 2008, the BPK had submitted 17 reports on corruption cases, worth Rp 19.37 billion, to the National Police. Anwar refused to give details on the cases.

He also said cooperation between the two institutions would allow training for both police and BPK personnel. Furthermore, police requested that the BPK be able to call on expert opinions to give evidence in their investigations.


Indonesia central bank says committed to free capital

Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:37pm EST  

JAKARTA, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Indonesia's central bank remains committed to the free movement of capital, the Bank Indonesia governor said on Friday, as the country's currency plunged to a new post Asian financial crisis low. 

Boediono's remarks came after the central bank last week tightened foreign exchange rules and the country's oil-and-gas regulator, BPMigas, said on Thursday it would order contractors to use local banks to deposit the billions of dollars earmarked for energy. 

"We are commited to our free capital movement law. Indonesia will remain committed to that, although there has been talk about restricting the movement of capital, our law guarantees the free flow of capital," Boediono told a news conference. 

"We will remain in the market and we will use our ammunition. Our reserves stand at $50.4 billion, which is a comfortable level compared to other countries." 

The rupiah currency was quoted at 12,500/13,000 per dollar by 0120 GMT, dropping further from Thursday's lows of 12,400 to levels last seen in August 1998, pressured by the fear of capital outflows. 

With the global financial turmoil affecting liquidity in Indonesia's banking sector, the country's deposit insurance agency (LPS) decided to take over a small lender, Bank Century Tbk (BCIC.JK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). 

Boediono said the deposit insurance agency decided to take over the small lender "to ensure the safety and quality of service to its customers". 

It is the first bank to be taken over by the government after the financial crisis in the late 1990s. 

The central bank had earlier said Bank Century, a relatively small bank with total assests of 15 trillion rupiah, was having problems in settling interbank payments due to technical problems, but said the issue was no threat to the country's banking system.

(Additional reporting by Tyagita Silka) (Reporting by Adriana Nina Kusuma, writing by Harry Suhartono, editing by Sugita Katyal)


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Century Bank executives banned from going overseas


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Indonesia needs to learn agricultural development from Brazil

Rio de Janeiro (ANTARA News) - Indonesia needs to learn more about agricultural development and research from Brazil, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said here on Wednesday. 

"We need to learn many things from Brazil," said Apriyantono who is one of several cabinet members accompanying President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on a tour of four American countries, including Brazil. 

Earlier in the day, he had accompanied President Yudhoyono on a visit to the Brazilian government`s agricultural research institute, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria (Embrapa). 

On the occasion, Embrapa executive director Tatiana de Sa briefed Yudhoyono on the activities of the institute which was established in 1973 and being run under the coordination of the country`s agricultural ministry. 

At present the institute had 8,400 workers , 2,210 researchers and around 1,000 experts on agriculture who gave advice to farmers. 

Tatiana said Embraga`s work to increase agricultural production began to yield results in 1991. For instance, the country`s production of sugar and its derivative ethanol had since then increased by 139.8 percent or at a rate of 15 percent per year. 

Anton Apriyantono said Brazil had the widest agriculture area in the world and therefore the country was able to be self-sufficient in food, and even the largest agricultural-commodity-exporting country. 

"Of a total of 850 million hectare area of Brazilian land, 366 million hectares are agriculture area, and 210 million hectares are for cow breeding," Anton said. 

Compared with Brazil concerning the width of land, he said Indonesia would not possibly be self-sufficient in various agricultural commodities. 

Meanwhile, President Yudhoyono said Indonesia would apply Brazilian agricultural technology. 

"We want to study the Brazilian concept of technology, research, development and other innovations in order to increase Indonesia`s agricultural production," Yudhoyono said. 

He said Indonesia wanted to apply Brazilian agricultural technology to increase its own agricultural and energy production. 

"We are convinced that to increase our agricultural production we need coordinated technology, and thus we want to learn from Brazil," Yudhoyono added.


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Citi to use scalpel not axe in trimming Asia units

By Tony Munroe and Saeed Azhar, Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:54am EST  

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is scrambling to slash costs in the face of collapsing investor confidence, but the embattled bank is unlikely to retreat from Asia, its strongest performing region. 

Citi is axing 52,000 jobs worldwide and cutting costs by a fifth, but will be reluctant to give up any of its hard won presence in a region where it rivals HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (0005.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (2888.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). 

It is, however, expected to shed staff in Asian units such as investment banking, where dealmaking has dried up, but cuts are likely to be less deep than in the United States and Europe. 

"If they do sell Asian assets they lose a major long-term growth platform. Why would they want to do that?" said David Lum, analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research. "It's certainly a cleaner operation and has been a high growth market for them." 

While Citigroup as a whole lost $2.8 billion in its third quarter -- its fourth quarterly loss in a row -- its Asia business earned $695 million, down just 14 percent. 

Asia quarterly revenue dipped 7 percent to $4.47 billion, compared with a 42 percent drop in North America and 23 percent across the bank, but is up slightly on the year. 

"I want to emphasize that we are changing the way we operate and not pulling back from our clients or our franchise," Ajay Banga, Citigroup's Asia-Pacific chief, said in a note to employees this week obtained by Reuters. 

"As we move forward, we will need to invest in opportunities and continue to hire in high-growth areas," he said. 

Citigroup has around 55,000 staff in Asia, including Japan. 

BRIGHTER SPOT 

Asia has been a comparative bright spot in dismal times for a bank that not long ago was the world's most valuable financial firm. With its shares down 33 percent this week, Citigroup was overtaken by U.S. Bancorp (USB.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as the fourth-largest U.S. bank by market value. 

"Citibank are hugely successful and hugely well-positioned in Asia," said Roman Scott, managing director of Calamander Capital in Singapore. 

The problem, he said, is that Citigroup has been damaged globally by aggressively selling securities and structured products that were manufactured by its investment banking operation and have soured in the market downturn. 

"They are their own worst enemy," he said. "HSBC and Standard Chartered will gain market share at their expense because this stuff filtered down to even ordinary customers." 

While Asia has been dragged down by the global slowdown, it is still a growth market and is expected by many to emerge from the downturn more quickly than the United States or Europe. 

Citigroup has been looking to shed assets, and earlier this year offloaded its German business. Last month, it agreed to sell its back-office business in India for $505 million, although that unit is a global operation. 

Otherwise, Asian holdings are seen as last on Citigroup's for-sale list. 

One analyst in Asia, who declined to be identified, said Citigroup is not in the same boat as insurer AIG (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which is unloading assets and shopping around its prized Asia business. 

"For AIG, the case is very obvious; they have to offload assets. In the case of Citigroup the Tier-1 (capital) is still high enough to avoid asset sales in Asia," the analyst said. 

BUMPS IN THE ROAD 

For its success, Citigroup's build-out across Asia has not been without hiccups. 

In India, it is battling a deterioration in consumer credit quality. On Thursday, the bank's South Asia CEO, Sanjay Nayar, left to join private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co KKR.UL. 

Citigroup (8710.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has also slowed its aggressive expansion streak in Japan, where last year it paid about $8 billion for a majority stake in brokerage Nikko Cordial Securities. 

That deal marked its largest acquisition in Asia and its biggest under ex-CEO Chuck Prince, and the bank later paid $4.6 billion more for full control of the brokerage. 

Last month, however, the Nikkei newspaper said Citi will delay a planned merger of two of its Japanese units to temporarily avoid integration costs. In June, the bank said it would all but close its consumer lending business in Japan. 

(Additional reporting by David Dolan in TOKYO, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)


Banks to benefit from oil, gas firms

Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 11/20/2008 10:42 AM  

In an attempt to help shore up the liquidity of the country's banking sector, upstream oil and gas regulator BPMigas will soon require oil and gas operators to use domestic banks to facilitate their multi-billion operations. 

Included in the domestic banks are foreign banks operating in Indonesia, BPMigas chairman R. Priyono said Wednesday. 

"This policy aims to increase our banks' liquidity. As the oil and gas sectors use many dollars, it will also boost dollar liquidity in our domestic banks. It will have positive effects on our banks' balance of payments," Priyono said during a discussion on the economic crisis and its impact on the oil and gas sector. 

Priyono said the regulation could be put in place as soon as next month and would be mandatory, applying to both national and foreign oil and gas operators. 

"Oil and gas operators must use domestic bank services, otherwise their expenses will not be reimbursed under the cost recovery scheme," Priyono said, adding that BPMigas had the authority to issue such a regulation. 

Priyono said oil and gas operators might spend about US$11.8 billion next year. "We hope all of the transactions for these funds will be through our domestic banks." 

Oil and gas companies spent about $10.56 billion in 2007. As of October this year, they have spent about $9.2 billion. 

The BPMigas proposal received mixed reactions from oil and gas players. 

President of the Indonesian Petroleum Association Roberto Lorato, who was also a speaker in the discussion, said he could not comment on the proposal, saying that investors and the government needed to discuss further on the matter. 

Roberto, however, said oil and gas investors were "starting to feel less comfortable within the last 12 months". 

"They are starting to feel less comfortable, because they perceive a number of changes, or sometimes there are simply rumors about changes to production sharing contracts, about changing part stakes and about changing cost recovery provisions, which are affecting investors comfort on what they have signed for and on what they will get," Roberto said. 

Lukman Mahfoedz, project director at domestic oil and gas operator PT Medco Energy, said that his company had been using domestic bank services and was quite satisfied with them. He went so far as urging domestic banks to also take part in financing investment in the upstream oil and gas sector. 

"Medco plans to spend about $300 million on its projects in 2009. It would be very good if domestic banks could participate in some of these projects." 

With an average capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of about 16 percent, domestic banks are believed to have stronger foundations than they had during the 1997 crisis. However, data from the central bank shows that domestic bank lending for the energy sector is quite small. 

As at the end of August 2008, outstanding loans for the energy sector stood at Rp 41.6 trillion ($4.2 billion), or about 3.5 percent of total bank credits disbursed.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Exports slow, but service sector remains promising

Tifa Asrianti and Olivia Dameria, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 11/19/2008 7:24 AM  

Greater Jakarta could start to suffer the impact from the global financial turmoil by the first semester next year, with manufacturers likely to downsize, an official at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) said Tuesday. 

“The crisis has affected the export sector since November,” said Sofian Pane, chairman of Kadin’s Jakarta office, on the sidelines of a meeting to elect the chamber’s new chairperson. 

“Many exports were rejected. More companies might be forced to stop production, leading to layoffs.”

He said three shoe factories in Bekasi had closed down recently. 

Sofian suggested Indonesia seek non-traditional export markets, with the Middle East as a viable alternative. However, the service sector, Jakarta’s main revenue generator, has yet to feel the pinch of the global downturn, although players are bracing in the face of a bleak outlook. 

“The crisis has not yet affected shopping malls significantly,” said Sutoto Soerjadi, secretary-general of the Indonesian Shopping Center Association (APPBI). 

“Our occupancy rates for this year still stand at between 83 and 92 percent.” 

He said malls had recorded a slight drop in visitor numbers since the global downturn, but he did not name an exact number. 

For 2009, Sutoto went on, mall occupancy rates would depend on energy costs, purchasing capacity, and the rupiah’s depreciation. 

“We cannot maintain mall occupancy rates if the electricity rate keeps increasing,” he said. 

He warned malls could see a further downturn in visitor numbers if the crisis continued into next year and the rupiah kept depreciating, thus dragging purchasing power down. 

To counter the downturn, Sutoto said the APPBI was promoting energy efficiency programs for malls.

Karla Parengkuan, executive director of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), said hotels had yet to show a drastic drop in occupancy rates, with Jakarta hotels averaging 60 percent occupancy. 

“We cannot predict what will happen, but I assume we will recover from the crisis faster than in 1998,” Karla said. 

She added that to cushion the blow next year, PHRI members would slash costs and improve service quality.

“Besides renovating hotels, we will also pay more attention to service and human resources by conducting training for best results,” she said. 

Mara Oloan Siregar, assistant to the city secretary for economic affairs, said the administration would try to mitigate the crisis by strictly monitoring illegal imports and boosting interprovincial trade. 

“We will empower small and medium enterprises and ease credit disbursements for them,” he said.

“We will also establish micro-financial institutions in 267 subdistricts.”