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26 February 2010

Indonesia to reopen telecom towers to foreign investment

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Investment Coordinating Board chairman Gita Wirjawan revealed here on Thursday that the government would push ahead with its plan to open the telecommunications towers to foreign investment to help the telecommunications industry grow faster to keep up with soaring demand, reported the Jakarta Post.

The telecommunications industry needs $7 billion to $8 billion per year in infrastructure investment, including in building towers. Considering the huge amount of investment needs, local businesspeople alone would not be able to meet the demand, Gita said in an interview with the Jakarta Post.

“I have my own experience in this sector. When I was with Exelcomindo, we faced difficulty in finding local partners to manage and build towers at a pace we wanted. Unless we open up this sector to foreign investment, I’m afraid our telecommunications industry would not be able to grow us much as we expect,” he said.

He explained that the telecommunications tower was already not in the negative list, but foreign participation had been excluded by an information and telecommunications ministerial decree.

“What we need is to revoke the decree, and automatically, it would open up this sector to foreign participation,” he said.

When more sectors are open for foreign investment, Gita said, Indonesia should be able to attract more foreign investment, much more than the current target for BKPM of between $10 billion to $22 billion per annum.

"We are thinking of a much bigger number of investment, at the level of around $25 to $35 billion, given the size of our economy. We are a $550 billion economy," Gita told the businesspeople.

To achieve his ambitious targets, Gita said that he had started his "one stop shop" licensing for investment that should expedite licensing to as fast as five hours and seven days at the latest.

Gita said, a total of 15 ministers had agreed to give their licensing power to BKPM to make the one stop shop service workable.


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