Tuesday June 20, 2017
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Widodo eased the so-called negative investment list last year in what he called a 'Big Bang' liberalisation of the economy. ― Reuters picWidodo eased the so-called negative investment list last year in what he called a 'Big Bang' liberalisation of the economy. ― Reuters pic

JAKARTA, June 20 ― Indonesia will ease ownership rules in sectors that are partially or fully closed to foreigners, in a bid to attract more international investors, cabinet ministers said today.

The government is reviewing ownership caps in sectors where foreigners are barred from having a majority stake, Darmin Nasution, the coordinating minister of economics, told reporters.

“The president really wants investment to increase,” Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said.

For the transport sector, the government is considering easing rules on airport operation services, Sumadi said. Current rules stipulate maximum foreign ownership of 49 per cent.

President Joko Widodo has repeatedly said he wants more investment to boost economic growth. But despite amendment last year of Indonesia’s “negative investment list” that specifies caps and restrictions, foreign direct investment remains sluggish.

Widodo described last year’s easing of foreign ownership rules as a “Big Bang” liberalisation of the economy, while one minister called it the largest opening to international investment in 10 years. The government scaled back restrictions in many sectors, including retail and ports.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy grew an annual 5.01 per cent in January-March, just a touch better than the previous quarter. Growth has been stuck around 5 per cent for years, highlighting Widodo’s struggle to make good a campaign promise to lift growth to 7 per cent during his term, which ends in 2019.

The finance minister said last month that 2017 growth could reach 5.3 per cent. ― Reuters

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