Spending Power


Sentiment among local and foreign investors is rising rapidly in this country, according to government data released this week, signaling a return to the heady days of yesteryear but without, we hope, the instability that followed.

Figures up to the end of September this year show that domestic and foreign direct investment rose a striking 155 percent compared to the same period last year.

Foreign direct investment alone rose a hefty 99 percent in the period, to Rp76.86 trillion.

That’s good news for the national economy, and for the job market.

Indeed, what’s driving investor confidence is robust consumer spending: people have got increasing levels of disposable income and are not afraid to spend on products and services. That’s the key indicator of a healthy economy.

The government would do well now to keep its promise to clip away at the mountains of red tape that make the entire process of investing immensely burdensome. Added to that, the authorities must continue to reign in corruptors who attempt to poison the investment channels with illegal levies and arbitrary decisions.

Indonesia has moved out of the economic doldrums after it was brought to its knees during the pan-Asian financial crisis of late 1997 that brought about the end of Suharto’s three-decade rule. Now, there are many checks and balances in place, not least in the much more streamlined banking sector.

People are happy when there is money in their pockets; investors are happy when there is cash being spent; the government should maintain this current cycle by shoring up legal measures to ensure certainty – and votes, come the next election.

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