Big Indonesia investment-rules changes to take effect soon

JAKARTA — Major easing of foreign investment restrictions that Indonesia announced last month as a “big bang” liberalisation should become effective by the end of March, a senior official said on Friday.

Edy Putra Irawady, deputy coordinating economic minister, said he expects administrative issues that have held up implementation of the rule changes to be resolved this month.

President Joko Widodo’s administration on Feb 11 announced that it would open of dozens of sectors to foreign investors, including restaurants, transportation and movie theatres.

But the president has yet to sign off on the changes to the “negative investment list”, which sets out parts of Indonesia’s economy that are partially or fully closed to foreign investors.

“This negative list contains a lot of fundamental changes, be it in the reduction (of sectors), the arrangements and simplification of the delivery,” Irawady said.

Although foreign direct investment into Indonesia has risen in recent years, the amount the country receives remains among the lowest in Southeast Asia relative to total investment and gross domestic product.

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