Last Updated : Tuesday, February 05, 2013 4:46 PM
Shams Ahsan and Saleh Fareed
JEDDAH – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has invited Saudi businessmen to explore new investment avenues in the country, which is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and a member of the G-20 major economies.
Indonesia has vast investment potential, which our Saudi friends need to further explore, said the president at the Indonesian-Saudi Business Forum here Monday.
Yudhoyono, who arrived here Sunday from Nigeria, will be leaving for Egypt to attend the 12th Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit.
Negotiations have been finalized between Saudi Aramco Asia Company Limited (SAAC), a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, and Pertamina, Indonesia’s state oil and gas company, to set up an $8 billion joint venture in oil refinery, Indonesian Minister of Industry Mohammad Hidayat told Saudi Gazette.
The proposed refinery will process 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil, much of which will be supplied by Saudi Aramco, he said.
Another area of discussion was the tourism sector, said the minister, adding: “We are encouraging Saudi tourists to visit Indonesia.”
Around 90,000 Saudi tourists visited Indonesia for business purposes and holidays in 2011.
Hidayat said that a Saudi trade delegation will be visiting Jakarta in March.
“Businessmen from Saudi Arabia expect construction companies from Indonesia to do projects in Saudi Arabia. They need Indonesian construction companies because they know that we have advanced technology in the field of construction,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Indonesian president held a close-door meeting with some prominent Saudi businessmen. Those who attended the meeting included Mazen Batterjee, Vice President of Batterjee Holding Co and Vice-Chairman of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI); Iyad Al-Bassam, CEO of Al-Bassam Group of Companies; Dr. Alaa A. Nassif, Executive President, Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu; and Faisal Bawazir, CEO Bawazir Group.
Mazen Batterjee praised the long-standing bilateral ties. “We urge the Indonesian trade delegation to transfer their technology in energy and food to the Kingdom,” he said.
The total trade volume between the two countries was around $6.85 billion in 2011. But Indonesia still ranks at number 12 among Saudi trade partners, said Dr. M. Chatib Basri, Chairman, Investment Coordinating Board of Indonesia.
“There is a lot of room for enhancing this cooperation. We hope that this meeting will be very beneficial for both of us,” he said.
“Several CEOs from Indonesia and Saudi Arabia would like to share their interests and present their business plans to enhance B2B cooperation between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia,” he told the president before the start of the close-door meeting.
Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan called on Saudi companies to explore more renewable projects in his country. He said Indonesia had development projects worth more than $36 trillion and urged Saudi firms to invest.
He has called on Saudi companies to invest in renewable energy, trade, investment and food projects in his country.
Addressing the Indonesian-Saudi Business Forum, Indonesian Ambassador Gatot Abdullah Mansyur highlighted some of the bilateral trade agreements. He said that the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group has set up its office of business forum (thiqah) at the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) in Jakarta to further promote Indonesia as a major investment destination for its members.