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New Investments in Bali Drop

Ambitious Invetsments Targets Unlikely to Be Achieved in 2009. Calls for Stronger Sanction in New Zoning Law to Protect Bali's Environment.

(4/20/2009) During the first quarter of 2009, the investment picture in Bali became stagnant with no new applications for domestic projects and only Rp. 53 billion (US$4.7 million) in foreign investment applications.

According to Kompas, the Chairman of the Bali Investment Board (BPM), Nyoman Suwirya Patra, is pessimistic that Bali will be able to meet its investment average of Rp. 850 billion (US$75.9 million). In 2008, Bali recorded investment applications worth Rp. 1.1 trillion (US$97.2 million) against a targeted Rp. 11.1 trillion (US$991 million).

Nyoman Suwirya blamed the lack of investment activity in Bali on the worldwide financial situation, explaining that his office would now focus on events and improving its website. He also told the press that the licenses approved in the first quarter of 2009 were spread over 15 projects in textiles, construction, hotels and restaurants. 57% of these new investments are in the Badung regency, followed by Buleleng, Gianyar and Denpasar.

New Zoning Regulations

Suwirya is not confident that the new zoning regulations for Bali (RTWT) will be realized, as planned, by June 2009.

The Chairman of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD), Ida Bagus Wisnawa, said, "we are still carefully studying (RTRW), following input provided by the public." In response to those who feel the new RTRW lacks proper sanctions against violators, he said they would bring the new rules into conformance with the existing policies.

Governor Pastika has rejected claims that the RTRW now being socialized to the public lack clarity on sanctions. Said Pastika: "We are bringing sanctions into conformance with the current rules."

Separately, the chief of the Regional Center for the Environment in Bali, Ir. R. Sudirman, told the press he hoped the new zoning regulations would not only consider economic factors but also address preserving the environment. He stressed the need for a balance between the economy and nature conservancy.

Sudirman called for the prevention of an interpretive application of the rules by bureaucrats, insisting the new RTRW must contain sanctions for regional and provincial leaders who commit errors in the licensing and recommendation process.

An expert in geomorphology from Udayana University, R. Suyarto, said he hoped that the public in Bali be given an opportunity to contribute their opinions in creating local regulations. He explained that Bali, as a small island, has a delicate eco-system and any change in land use must be carefully considered and made clear. "Thus far, there's a perception that science has not been employed in considering the feasibility of a given investment. There is a tendency that economic considerations are given precedence over preserving Bali's environment."