Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – South Korean investors prefer to wait for the outcome of the upcoming 2024 elections before investing in Indonesia's new capital project Nusantara, according to its business lobby group.
Indonesia will host its presidential election on Valentine's Day next year, namely on Feb. 14. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been sparing no effort to attract investors to help Indonesia relocate its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan. South Korean investors are in wait-and-see mode as policy changes may occur once a new president takes over.
"Nusantara is an incredibly wonderful opportunity. But to be frank, the investors are in wait-and-see mode. Perhaps once Indonesia elects their new president, we will have better clarity on the investment prospects and industries in Nusantara," Lee Kang Hyun, the chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Indonesia (Kocham), told B Universe on the sidelines of the Investor Daily Round Table forum in Jakarta on Wednesday evening.
"Because we still don't know who will be the next president. Their methods can change. Even though we already get the idea [of the project], investors still wish to realize their investment after the elections," Lee said.
Indonesia is mostly relying on private sector money to build the city from scratch.
The Nusantara Capital Authority body reported that as of August 7, 19 countries had proposed their willingness to invest in the new capital city. They, however, did not specify the names of the said countries. Nusantara has received 262 letters of intent, of which, 29 of them revolve around energy-related projects. The authority body also reported that 42 non-disclosure agreements had been inked.
Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono revealed last week that the construction works in Nusantara were around 30 percent complete. The Public Works Ministry gets a state budget allocation of Rp 65.568 trillion (around $4.29 billion) for 2022-2024 for Nusantara. The ministry's budget for the new city increasingly gets bigger each year: Rp 5.246 trillion (2022), Rp 26.672 trillion (2023), Rp 35.376 trillion (2024). The government's overall 2024 budget for Nusantara totaled Rp 40.6 trillion.
Government data shows South Korean investment in Indonesia totaled an estimated $2.3 billion in Indonesia in 2022. South Korea was Indonesia's seventh largest investor that year.