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An Economic Strategy for Bali for 2009

Bali's Leaders Gather to Plot Strategies to Confront World Economic Crisis.

(12/26/2008) A discussion of Bali's economy for 2009 was convened on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 by Bisnis Bali including leading academics, banking officials, government officials and local business leaders.

Among the highlights of those discussions:

● Bali's economy will slow in 2009, growing at a rate of 4.5% down from a current rate of growth of 6%.

● The ailing U.S. Economy will have direct negative impact on Bali's exports for furniture and handicrafts.

● Local income will decline as tourist arrivals to Bali are expected to shrink in 2009.

● Declining tourism numbers may be offset, in part, by lower fuel costs dipping from highs of US$140 per barrel to US$40.

● Those in attendance called for unified thinking and action on the part of the government, stakeholders and the people to minimize the negative impact of the current financial crisis.

● Business participants complained that government policies were out of step with the current situation. While interest rates are down worldwide, they remain high in Indonesia.

● Plans to increase regional minimum salary levels by 11% in 2009 may represent a non-viable burden for local entrepreneurs.

● Tourism workers should focus their attention on markets less affected by the current economic downturn, such as Japan, China, the Middle East and India.

● Businesses should avoid borrowing funds denominated in U.S. dollars because of the weak exchange rate of the Rupiah at present.

● Emphasis should be placed on using local agricultural products to reduce reliance on imports.

● Provincial economies should be stimulated by higher spending on local development projects.

● Zoning and development rules must be enforced to pave the way for future development.