Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Indonesian President Joko’s Investment Crusade Rife With Contradictions

Joko needs an influx of foreign investment that can boost the sliding rupiah and inject life into our slumping economy  ̶  for his own sake and for the survival of countless Indonesians.

As the president gradually comes to realize the importance of the role foreign factors play in Indonesia’s economy, he needs to work harder than ever to convince investors from abroad to sink their money into the archipelago.

Yet oddly enough, the latest string of government policies seemed to have been made with complete disregard  ̶  and a dose of hostility  ̶  to foreigners.

Pushing aside former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s motto of maintaining “a million friends, zero enemies,” Joko embarked on a narrow-minded, nationalistic path in business and politics, which he spectacularly displayed by executing more than a dozen foreign drug convicts this year.

Despite global outcry and multiple pleas for clemency from prominent world leaders, he refused to show mercy in an obvious attempt to look tough and disprove accusations that paint him as a submissive president struggling under the thumb of his political party.

Unfortunately, the show of bravado failed and most  ̶  if not all  ̶  foreign businesspeople still view Joko as weak.

Talk is cheap and no amount of campaigning or cajolery will be enough to convince the international business community to spend their money in Indonesia while questions linger about the safety of their investments, legal certainty, corruption and vigilantism.

Unless Joko addresses these concerns, he may find himself scrambling to stave capital outflows sooner rather than later as the nation’s currency remains under pressure against the dollar.

Talk is useless unless it is backed up by real action to fix the situation. Jakarta Globe


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