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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 9 April  2015  

Top pension fund to invest more in property

The Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan), which manages the largest pool of funds in Indonesia, said it would allocate more of its assets to the property sector to meet the growing need for housing among domestic employees.

“We are now discussing a possible Presidential Regulation that would revise Government Regulation No. 99 [on BPJS] where we would increase the allocation of our direct and indirect investments in the property sector,” president director Elvyn G. Masassya said Tuesday after a meeting in the office of the coordinating economic minister.

The new regulation would allow BPJS Ketenagakerjaan to place up to 10 percent of its assets as direct investment in the property sector (land, housing or low-cost apartment construction for domestic workers) up from the current threshold of 5 percent, he said.

BPJS Ketenagakerjaan plans to build low-cost apartments in six cities across the archipelago — Bandung, Semarang, Sidoarjo, Makassar, Banten and Medan — with a Rp 360 billion budget, according to its website.

At present, it also provides low and flat interest rate credit facilities for domestic workers wanting to own houses or apartments, in partnership with banks, such as Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN), with a credit ceiling up to Rp 50 million (US$3,850).

The state-owned agency, which pools pension funds from domestic workers, currently manages Rp 192 trillion in assets, with 46 percent of the funds invested in government bonds, according to Elvyn.

Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil said the main purpose of the increase in BPJS Ketenagakerjaan’s fund allocation to the property sector is to assist domestic workers who want housing, the price of which has skyrocketed significantly in recent years.

“Workers that could not afford it alone, could use their [BPJS] funds to build or buy houses, or finance their low-cost apartments,” the minister said after his meeting with Elvyn.

In this case, workers would not have to wait until they pass their pension age, as their funds could be disbursed to buy houses in a scheme with BPJS after working in their companies for a certain period, Sofyan explained.

Indonesia has seen a boom in its property sector as robust economic expansion, coupled with the country’s growing middle class, increased demand for housing and drove up property prices.

Developers on the Jakarta stock exchange, including PT Lippo Cikarang and PT Alam Sutera Realty, have the highest average analyst ratings among global peers and the most buy recommendations of any industry group in Indonesia, Bloomberg reported.

The Jakarta Construction, Property and Real Estate Index has advanced 4.8 percent this year, following an impressive 56 percent rally in 2014.

Bank Indonesia (BI), the central bank, has introduced stricter loan-to-value ratio for house mortgages in a move that analysts predicted as a strategy to avert a potential bubble in the country’s fast-growing property sector.

A February survey by BI predicted the prices of new homes in Indonesia would register 5.7 percent year-on-year growth in the first quarter this year.

In a separate development, Elvyn said BPJS and the government were closer to finalizing a new pension funds payment scheme, where the agency would pull funds worth 8 percent of a worker’s salary, up from around 5.7 percent currently. Under the new scheme, a company would pay 5 percent of the pension funds while the employee would pay the remaining 3 percent, according to the BPJS president director.

“The government regulation on the pension fund will be discussed one more time [...] We hope the proposal can be approved and signed by the President before July 1,” Elvyn said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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