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Indonesia launches one-stop service for investment licences

[JAKARTA] Starting Monday, investors to Indonesia will need to go to only one place for investment licences as President Joko Widodo makes good on one of his campaign pledges to turn the country more business friendly.

Investors in Southeast Asia's largest economy had to apply to various ministries for licences before setting up shop, which could take years, and has been a major drag for investment growth in Indonesia, according to Mr Joko during his poll campaign.

To cut through the red tape, the former furniture exporter made the creation of a one-stop service for investment licensing his priority right after taking office in late October.

"Every year economic growth has to increase and the key to it is the state budget and investment. Those will create competitiveness and service," Mr Joko said in his speech during the launch of the service on Monday.

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Widodo wants to lift Indonesia's economic growth to 5.6-5.8 per cent next year and 7 per cent on average during his five-year tenure, by relying on investment growth. He estimated growth at 5.1 per cent in 2014.

The Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), the agency appointed for the purpose, has already been acting as a one-stop shop for licensing since its soft launch two weeks earlier.

The 22 government agencies, which processed licences earlier, have now placed officials at BKPM's office to cater to the needs of investors.

However, it would still take about 2-1/2 years to get all the required 52 licences to build a power plant, BKPM's website showed. For agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and tourism businesses, the process could last around two years.

BKPM chief Franky Sibarani said the agency would set up similar one-stop services at regional levels in 24 of the country's 34 provinces during the course of a year.