(Bloomberg) — Indonesia’s most populous province is offering up a $60-billion portfolio of projects over the next five years for investors keen to follow the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and Hyundai Motor Co. in setting up shop there.
West Java, which has an economy nearly the size of Hungary, is asking potential investors to make deals with province-owned companies rather than asking them to go through the local government, Governor Ridwan Kamil said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg. That can cut the process to as little as six months, from the usual two-year period, with four investors already in talks, he said.
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“Combined with the omnibus law and my political will to push for faster business processes, West Java could be the most exciting place for investing in Indonesia,” Kamil said. “I sound like a salesman, but that’s my pitch.”
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West Java is central to President Joko Widodo’s bid to revive Southeast Asia’s largest economy by aggressively recruiting foreign investment. He has spearheaded an omnibus law that would ease labor rules and cut red tape, aiming to tamp down unemployment and turn around an economy that fell into a recession last quarter.
Some of the world’s biggest companies have pledged investments in West Java in recent months, including $8 billion from Taiwan’s CPC Corp. for a petrochemical plant, $2.8 billion from Amazon.com for a data center and $1.3 billion from Hyundai for an electric vehicle factory.
The province, which accounts for 13% of Indonesia’s gross domestic product, will seek parliamentary approval next year to issue municipal bonds to boost its budget, Kamil said, reviving a plan that’s been years in the making.
After leading a province with a population almost as large as South Korea’s, Kamil is setting his sights on a presidential bid in 2024. He is in talks with the Nasdem Party, which holds 10% of parliament’s seats as part of the ruling coalition. Presidential contenders must have the backing of at least 20% of sitting lawmakers to secure a nomination.
“If the door is open, then I will take the opportunity,” he said. “But if not, I have no regrets. Being a governor is already the highest achievement in my career.”
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