Indonesia Clippings: Indonesia Must Toughen Up on Tax Crimes: SBY

Indonesia Must Toughen Up on Tax Crimes: SBY, April 5
IN THIS UPDATE:
  • Defense & Security
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • Infrastructure
  • Politics
  • U.S. Relations
  • Other

Looking Ahead...
The US-ASEAN Business Council will be hosting a member's briefing and conference call with Ambassador Cameron Hume, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, on Wednesday at 8:30am. To RSVP or for conference call information, please contact Mike Orgill at morgill@usasean.org.

The US-ASEAN Business Council will be hosting a business roundtable on the evening of April 13th with Vice President Boediono, prior to a dinner organized by USINDO. Invitations for these events will be sent out soon. For more information, please contact Mike Orgill at morgill@usasean.org.

The US-ASEAN Business Council will be hosting a business luncheon on April 23th with Minister of National Planning and Development (Bappenas), Dr. Armida Alisjahbana. Invitations for this luncheon will be sent out soon. For more information, please contact Mike Orgill at morgill@usasean.org.

Minister Mari Pangestu will be visiting Seattle, Washington on May 3 and Washington, D.C. on May 5 as part of the ASEAN Trade Minister's Roadshow, which is being arranged by the US-ASEAN Business Council and USTR. For more information, please contact Marc Mealy at mmealy@usasean.org.

The US-ASEAN Business Council is in the process of redoing its Indonesia mailing list.  If you have colleagues that did not receive this email or if these emails should be directed to someone else in your company, please contact Mike Orgill at morgill@usasean.org.  

Defense & Security

Yudhoyono ‘Situation Room’ to Cost $1m, Jakarta Globe, March 30
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be getting a White House-style “situation room” at a cost of around $1 million, although aides say it will not be used to appraise the head of state of ongoing global developments but rather the progress — or lack thereof — made by government ministries and their programs. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), said the Rp 8 billion ($880,000) room would have a range of uses, including tracking progress on Presidential Instruction No. 1 on the acceleration of priority programs. Details were unavailable as to when the facility would be up and running. He said advanced technology, such as video-conference equipment, would be built into the room in Bina Graha at the Presidential Palace complex, allowing him access to comprehensive information at the touch of a button.

Coordination with Singapore, Malaysia Helping Safeguard Strait of Malacca: Indonesian Defense Minister, Jakarta Globe, April 4
Security in the Strait of Malacca is now under good control, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said over the weekend, a month after warnings of a possible terrorist attack in the area were issued. Military forces from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore had been cooperating to secure the 800-kilometer-long strait, the busiest shipping lane in the world, Purnomo said. “The three countries have coordinated patrol formats implemented in the Malacca Strait,” he said. “Radars alongside the strait have also been working well.”

Weaponry contracts expire in June 2010, Antara, March 4
The expiry of the signing of contract on the domestic procurement of weaponry for the military and police had been set on June 20, 2010, Head of the Inspectorate General of the Defense Ministry Vice Marshal Erris Herryanto said. The the procurement of weaponry for the military with its contract already signed prior to June 20, 2010, would have to be followed up,, he said in Jakarta Thursday.

Economy

RI posted US$1.71 billion trade surplus in February, Antara, April 1
Indonesia`s trade surplus in February reached US$1.71 billion, slightly up from US$1.1 billion in January, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) on Thursday. "The balance of trade shows a surplus of US$1.7 billion making total surplus in the past two months to reach US$3.8 billion," BPS chief Rusman Heriawan said.

Indonesia Inflation Slows, Central Bank May Hold Rate, Bloomberg, April 1
Indonesia’s inflation slowed last month, giving the central bank room to refrain from raising interest rates when it meets next week. Indonesia’s central bank, which will meet on April 6 to review its policy, has kept borrowing costs unchanged since cutting them to a record low in August to help the economy avoid a recession. It has refrained from following Malaysia, India and Australia in raising interest rates this year even as inflation returns to the region amid a global recovery.

Indonesia's economic growth must be qualified, Bisnis Indonesia, March 30
Head of Bappenas confirmed in Indonesia 2010-2014 will give priority to economic growth by emphasizing the quality of synchronization with local government planning.

Energy

Geothermal projects expand clean energy, The Jakarta Post, March 31
In advance of US President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) launched the US-Indonesia Geothermal Development Initiative during director Leocadia I. Zak's visit to Jakarta. Zak concluded two grant agreements to support the private-sector geothermal development in West Java and Halmahera in Maluku province.

Indonesia's PGN to raise gas price for industry, Reuters, March 31
Indonesia's gas distributor firm PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) will increase the price of natural gas it supplies to local industry by about 15 percent from April 1, a company official said on Wednesday.

Food & Agriculture

Indonesia sets April cocoa export tax at 10 pct, Alibaba, March 30
Indonesia will apply a 10 percent export tax on cocoa beans for April as it seeks to boost its domestic cocoa grindings industry, the trade ministry said in a statement. The trade ministry also set the base export price for cocoa beans -- used to calculate the export tax -- at $2,603 per tonne. The export tax for cocoa beans in April was based on average prices of Indonesian cocoa beans shipped to the U.S. market in March at $2,900.06 per tonne, CIF basis.

Health & Life Sciences

Medical equipment industry needs Rp 10 trillion investment, Bisnis Indonesia, March 31
Ministry of Industry, estimated that medical equipment industry, whether developed by conventional or high-tech, require additional investments of up to Rp10 trillion in the next 5 years. Director of the Telematics Industry and the Directorate General of Transport Equipment Manufacture Telematics (IATT) Kemenperin Ramon Bangun said the large investment needs to encourage the development of production machinery and technology-based research.

Infrastructure

China pledges $2 bln loan for Indonesia infrastructure, AFP, April 4
The Indonesian trade minister said Saturday that China agreed to lend two billion dollars for investment in Indonesia's infrastructure. Beijing will give Jakarta 1.8 billion dollars worth of preferential export buyer's credits as well as a concessional loan of 263 million dollars, said the minister, Mari Pangestu, after a meeting with China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming.

RI infrastructure faces quality problem: Minister, The Jakarta Post, March 31
Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto says much of the country’s infrastructure suffers from quality problems. “Based on our observations, there are quality and utilization problems in the existing infrastructure,” he said Wednesday as quoted by Antara at a regional meeting in Semarang, Central Java. He called for improved quality, planning and budgeting in future.

Indonesia, China To Discuss Infrastructure Cooperation Master Plan, Bernama, April 4
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will discuss a master plan on cooperation in transportation infrastructure development, Antara news agency reported. Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said here Monday the Chinese prime minister would arrive in Indonesia for a two-day visit on April 23, 2010.

Politics

Megawati’s victory confirmed early: PDI-P, The Jakarta Post, April 3
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) confirmed Saturday that the party leadership post for the next five years would go for incumbent Megawati Soekarnoputri, who has gained support from most of the party’s regional branches nationwide. PDI-P’s leadership position will be decided during the upcoming national congress in Bali on Apr 6-9. Names of candidates for the top post had been proposed by 33 provincial branches since several weeks ago.

U.S. Relations

Obama`s science envoy to visit RI in May: US Envoy, Antara, March 30
US President Barack Obama will send a science envoy to Indonesia next May, according to US Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron R. Hume. "President Obama`s Science Envoy will visit Indonesia in May. We are eager to begin joint activities," Hume said here on Monday after the signing of a bilateral agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia.

New US-funded HIV/AIDS prevention program begins, The Jakarta Post, April 1
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Thursday launched a new five year HIV/AIDS prevention program in Indonesia. The project, entitled Scaling Up for Most-at-risk Populations, is part of a US$35 million effort from the US Government to assist the Government of Indonesia in curbing HIV/AIDS transmission.

Other

Indonesia's place in the global jungle, The Economist, March 31
By dint of size, population and potential wealth, Indonesia has long loomed large over its own backyard. The archipelago nation bestrides the world’s busiest sea lanes. Some 231m Indonesians account for two-fifths of the population of ASEAN, the ten-country Association of South-East Asian Nations. A young and reasonably educated population offers perennial promise, as do vast deposits of oil, gas and minerals, forests and palm-oil plantations. For all that ASEAN operates according to its famed consensus, Indonesia has been its stealth leader. But President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has bolder aspirations. A liberal internationalist, Mr Yudhoyono convincingly won a second term last year, and monopolises the foreign-policy apparatus. He has brought Indonesia closer to Australia, its big southern neighbour with which it has a troubled past. He was supposed to have signed a “comprehensive partnership” with Barack Obama by now, but the American president delayed the trip in order to push his health-care reforms through Congress.

Indonesia Must Toughen Up on Tax Crimes: SBY, Jakarta Globe, April 4
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered law enforcers to get serious about tackling tax-related crimes. His comments on Monday came as a corruption case involving a middle-ranking tax official continued to grip the nation. “I want them [the tax criminals] to be revealed, hunted until everything has been cleaned up and the state no longer suffers losses,” Yudhoyono said before a cabinet meeting on the economy.

Tax holiday for environmentally friendly investment, Bisnis Indonesia, March 31
The Government through the Ministry of Finance promised tax breaks for investment in the facility friendly environment, one form of deferred income tax (tax holiday), to support the handling of climate change. Milawarma, said the Ministry of Finance will help to achieve emission targets with the issue of fiscal facilities associated with all eco-friendly products. The facility, al relief or exemption from taxation and import duties for environmentally friendly technologies and provide facilities for the export of green products. "We will also provide tax breaks for environmentally friendly energy such as geothermal, for anyone who wants to invest there.

Foreigners Can Own Property, Indonesian Government Says, March 31
Indonesia plans to allow foreigners to own property in the country and has completed its review of investment rules under the so-called negative list, the country’s investment coordination agency said on Wednesday. The country will deregulate its property industry by the end of the first half, paving the way for foreigners to buy homes and commercial real estate directly, Gita Wirjawan, chairman of the Investment Coordination Board of Indonesia, said in Jakarta. The move will “unleash value,” he said.

Indonesia, China Sign Seven Agreements, Viva News, April 4
The Indonesian and Chinese governments are ready to establish a collaboration on the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement. There will be five agreements that include China permitting the opening of Bank Mandiri’s branches and loans to the LPEI as well as providing export credit facility for infrastructure development in Indonesia.

END MEMO