Nusa Tenggara provinces need more investment

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Vice President Boediono urged businesspeople to invest more in East and West Nusa Tenggara (NTT and NTB) provinces as both have great tourism potential and a role in supporting the nation’s food security.

“Investment is very important in developing previously under-developed regions, including Nusa Tenggara. For that, collaboration between the government, businesspeople, and banking is very important in creating a synergy in order to create investment,” Boediono said on Tuesday when addressing the Nusa Tenggara Investment Day.

Both provinces and Bali were in Corridor Five of the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth (MP3EI) and required Rp 121.6 trillion (US$13.74 billion) of investment to support development, he said.

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Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu agreed with Boediono that well-developed tourism would create more jobs and bring wealth to people in both provinces.

As well as focusing on infrastructure development in three major cities within the corridor of Denpasar, Mataram, and Kupang, the government is currently developing Mandalika resort in Central Lombok, NTB.

“Mandalika will be our second Nusa Dua and we are going to provide fiscal and non-fiscal facilities to encourage more investors to come,” Mari said.

The Mandalika resort area spans 1,175 hectares and is located in the south of Lombok Island. Its coastline facing the Indian Ocean, was 7.5 kilometers of fine white-sand beaches, she said.

“This area is projected to become Indonesia’s new premier destination. It is very promising because we already have direct flights from Jakarta to Lombok.”

Imbalanced population distribution and archipelagic geography were other challenges in developing both provinces, she said.

As part of the national food security project, NTT Governor Frans Lebu Raya said that his province could provide plentiful agriculture areas.

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He said the province was not only rich in tourism destinations such as Komodo Island, but also in food products such as corn, beef, poultry, fisheries, and sea weed.

“Sumba, Flores, and Timor [islands] have a lot of undeveloped land with potential for food cultivation,” Frans said.

Meanwhile, Jemmy Eka Putra, director of BISI International, Indonesia’s largest producer of hybrid seeds for corn, rice and horticulture, said that Nusa Tenggara had many things to offer and the company was looking forward to investing more in the area.

BISI already had several research facilities including in West Lombok, NTB, as well as seed factories in Kediri and Mojokerto, Jemmy said.

The event was organized by Bank Mandiri, whose president director Zulkifli Zaini said that the bank was willing to facilitate the government and private sector to boost economic growth in both provinces.

He said that he was optimistic development in Nusa Tenggara could be optimized because there were signs of increasing business activities in the region.

As of Sep. 30, Bank Mandiri had channelled loans to both provinces worth Rp 880 billion, an increase of 96.5 percent compared to the same period last year. “More than 50 percent of the loans are for working capital, indicating an increase in entrepreneurship activities in the provinces,” he said.

As many as 200 investors are expected to reach business deals with the provincial administrations to improve Corridor Five. (The Jakarta Post, 26 October 2011)

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