An article from the Reuters Agency has reported on plans for a "big bang" loosening of restrictions on foreign investment in Indonesia to encourage competition in an economy long dominated by powerful vested interests.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has developed a proposal that will ease rules in the e-commerce, retail, healthcare, movie and several other industries, which could pit a relative newcomer on the political stage against an establishment resistant to change. It would be the most far-reaching yet in a string of stimulus packages rolled out over the past six months to drive industry and employment beyond the economy's traditional mainstays of agriculture and mineral extraction.
Southeast Asia's largest economy has been growing at its slowest pace in six years because of falling commodity prices and cooling growth in major trading partner China. But Widodo told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace he was very optimistic that growth would rebound to 5.3% this year after a slide to 4.8% in 2015. His trade minister, Tom Lembong, told Reuters separately that the planned overhaul of the so-called 'Negative Investment List" signalled a greater openness to foreign investment and would partly prepare the country for free trade agreements, including eventually the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
"We are seriously considering deregulation across the board, but focusing on e-commerce, healthcare, and creative industry," Widodo said ahead of a cabinet discussion of the proposals. "There are 49 sub-sectors (affected) so in my opinion this is the big bang."