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Final Approaches to a Happy Landing

Bali Legislators Becoming Adamant in Demanding a Share of Operating Profits from Baliís Ngurah Rai International Airport

(3/9/2012) Bali is again renewing long-standing demands to gain a greater say in the operation of the Ngurah Rai Bali international Airport and a share of the profits generated by the island’s main air gateway.

Radar Bali reports that the provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), via the work of a special committee, has issued a recommendation to the governor to request PT Angkasa Pura II, the managers of the Bali airport, share its profits with the province.

The Bali legislators have proposed four separate scenarios in order to eventually win a share of the airport’s revenue for Bali.

First, as a short-term strategy, the lawmakers are asking that US$1 be levied on every foreign tourist landing in Bali, which they calculate would generate Rp. 27 billion (US$3 million) in 2011. The secretary of the DPRD-Bali special committee, Ngaka Samudra, said, “this approach is the easiest one for which to battle.”

A second approach would levy a higher single-door charge for those arriving at the tourist destination, removing the need to later pay admission charges at each tourist object across the island. This approach, however, is thought likely to become a potential point of contention between the province and the regencies who now charge admission to tourist locales.

A third option reflects another long-term approach and would require a change to the current national law that divides revenues between the central government and the provinces. This approach would require a prolonged lobbying effort with Jakarta.

The fourth and final option proposes that investigations be carried out to determine if, in fact, the province of Bali owns the land occupied by Bali’s airport. Such a discovery would automatically provide the province with an ownership share in the airport and entitle Bali to rents from the airport’s operation.

Samudra told the press that prior to making their recommendations, the special committee of the DPRD-Bali undertook extensive consultation and research.

In 2003 PT Angkasa Pura II allocated Rp. 10 billion to the provincial government of Bali in response to strong protests from the DPRD-Bali and the people of Bali, who complained at that time that the airport made no financial contribution to the betterment of the Island.

Samudra said that it was his perceptions that efforts to obtain funds from Bali’s airport operations were supported by the Ministry of Tourism. When pressed on that point, Samudra could not specifically name which ranking official in the Ministry had voiced support for the plan.

The Ministries most closely connected with the financial management of the Bali Airport is the Ministry for State-owned Enterprises (BUMN) and the Ministry of Finance.

The offical letter and committee report delivered to Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika calls on the Island’s chief executive to take up the cause and do battle with the central government to eventually secure a revenue share for the province from Bali’s airport.