Refocus Investment on Infrastructure

DENPASAR ~ The Bali Tourism Board (BTB) wants the provincial government to restrict tourism development and channel foreign investment into badly needed infrastructure projects instead.

The pre-Christmas call came from BTD chairman Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, who said that without this policy change Bali would be in crisis within years.

He said investment in tourism should be governed by firm rules and clear investment guidelines to protect the environment and limit competition. Foreign investment must be directed towards overcoming critical shortages of water and electricity, poor roads and traffic congestion.

Wijaya said it was the central government’s responsibility to “give legal certainty to foreign and domestic investors who want to invest in infrastructure.”

Investment Board data shows that while new investment projects from January to July 2009 fell to 109 from 145 in the same period in 2008, the value of projects for the 2009 period soared 47.93 percent to Rp12.84 trillion (US$12 billion) over Rp8.68 trillion ($8 billion) in 2008.

In 2009, foreign investment shifted some of its focus out of Badung (which got 40.75 percent of new investment) into Denpasar (25.16 percent) and Buleleng (12.9 percent).

Domestic investment was concentrated in Buleleng (56.14 percent), Karangasem (18.62 percent) and Badung (13.89 percent).

Meanwhile, Denpasar has been named Indonesia’s best city for investment in 2009.

The award recommendation was made by the monitoring committee for regional autonomy (KPPOD), which assessed Denpasar’s business licensing services, investment information systems, facilities and complaint mechanisms as the best in the nation.

City government spokesman Erwin Made Suryadarma said the office of licensing was making it easier for investors to access relevant information, but Denpasar would continue to create more and better investment services.

The civic government would aim to integrate investment administration into a single agency, he said after the award presentation in Jakarta in late December.

Denpasar was also recognised in 2009 as a pioneer in providing sanitation to urban settlements. Seven community sanitation systems were provided for slums and other densely populated areas during the year.

But Suryadarma said the central government’s allocation of Rp3 billion (US$300,000) to the 2010 city budget for sanitation was not enough.

Denpasar Sewerage Development Project (DSDP) spokesman Wayan Budiarsa said complaints about the DSDP, which had been operating since May 2007, were mostly due to people throwing rubbish into sewerage channels and clogging them.

People also were directing excess rainwater and industrial waste into the channels that were intended only for wastewater from houses, small businesses and hotels, he said.

Stage Two of the DSDP will be launched this month. It will provide 7,200 new connections, including 4,700 in Denpasar and others in Kuta and Sanur, by 2014.

Completion of the second phase will provide sewerage connections to 32 percent of Denpasar’s population. A new waste treatment plant would be needed to achieve 60 percent coverage.

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