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Bali Needs a Diversified Economy

Local Economists Call for Bali to Become Less Economically Dependent on Tourism.

(7/19/2008) Bali needs to develop productive sectors of its economy outside of tourism in order to prepare for an increasing uncertain world situation in the future. A failure to meet this challenge or a delay in developing Bali's local economy may have the undesired effect of increasing rates of poverty and human suffering on the island.

This dire warning was sounded by the Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Young Entrepreneurs (HIPMI), Gde Wirajaya Wisna on Friday, July 11, 2008, when he considered the prediction of the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) that the growth of the national economy is stuck at 5.8% against a targeted 6.3% rate of growth.

Covered in the Bali Post, the Balinese economist Wirajaya Misna warned that the island's well-being was at risk due to an overdependence on tourism. He admonished that over-reliance on the service sector will prove costly for Bali if untoward future events come to pass. Because of this, Bali must take urgent steps to develop non-tourism sectors of its economy in order to help the Balinese weather any economic storm and upheaval ahead.

Misna said that sooner or later, national and global economic conditions would be felt in Bali. This is especially the case since much of Bali's economic policy is dictated by decisions made in Jakarta.

The German educated economist called for the development of agriculture, fishing and other sectors of Bali's economy on an urgent basis. The experience of the Bali's recent bombing demonstrates the dangers of over-dependence on tourism as the main pillar of the island's economy. A failure to diversify the local economy now can spell poverty ahead if another crisis befalls the people of Bali.

With wages more or less frozen in Bali at the moment, Misna said, the people's economic condition is on a steady decline as the price of basic commodities increase. A failure to actualize the productive sectors of the economy will leave the Balinese as the victims of their own consumerism.