Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadalia. (JP/Donny Fernando)

The government plans to issue at the end of this month a new investment list that will outline certain business sectors available for foreign direct investment, a high-ranking official has said.

“The plan is to issue the list […] in the form of a Perpres [Presidential regulation] instead of in the omnibus bill,” Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadalia said in Jakarta on Wednesday, referring to an omnibus bill on job creation proposed by the government to cut regulatory red tape.

“If the Perpres is issued in February, it will take effect in March,” he added, declining to go into detail and revealing only that the list was still being discussed.

Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said in November last year that the government planned to change the existing negative investment list (DNI) into a positive investment list. The positive list will promote priority industries that are open to both foreign and domestic investments, such as import-substitution or export-oriented industries.

At the time, the DNI contained a list of banned or limited foreign investment in certain business sectors to protect local companies. He also said in November that he expected the Perpres to be issued this year.

The government is struggling to attract more investment into the country to help jack up sluggish economic growth. Indonesia’s economy grew 5.02 percent last year, the weakest since 2015, as investment and export cooled.

Bahlil said on Wednesday that on the positive list, some sectors would still limit foreign ownership.

 “We want to create a positive image because a negative list sounds less comforting [for investors],” he said. “We are building an image that will help build foreign investors’ trust in us.”

Bahlil had met with the Regional Representative Council (DPD) earlier that day to discuss the council’s initiative to formulate a bill that would ease the licensing process and improve coordination between the government and regional administrations.

“The bill will lean more toward [tackling] the challenges that investors face on the regional level,” DPD Commission IV chairwoman Elviana said during the meeting in Jakarta.

Despite the government’s efforts to ease the process of doing business, such a reform often does not transmit to regional administrations as the latter require investors to go through different mechanisms to procure local licenses.

Elviana said the council would complete the draft by the end of 2020 and aimed to list it in the 2021 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).

After the meeting, Bahlil declined to elaborate his stance on the issue, saying it was up to the lawmakers.


Reporter: Riska Rahman and Made Anthony Iswara | Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com