Construction firms told to raise competitiveness

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday called on construction businesspeople to increase their competitiveness to face free trade challenges from foreign competitors in the global market. “I hope you all can increase your competitiveness to face the challenges of globalization,” Yudhoyono said during the opening of the 13th national meeting of the Indonesian Builders Association (Gapensi) at the Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur, Denpasar.

“If you can be more efficient, more productive and full of innovation, then you won’t have to worry about the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community [AEC] in December next year,” he said. The President, who spoke before around 800 Gapensi members and observers, said that the industry had all the potential to become the best and ultimately help boost the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income.

Yudhoyono mentioned the construction of Kelok Sembilan Bridge in West Sumatra as one of the masterpieces of Indonesia’s work. “There’s a lot [of work] the nation has done, and I am sure Indonesia can compete,” he said. According to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data, more than 122,000 construction firms existed in 2011. In 2012, the construction industry contributed around 10.44 percent to the state’s US$878 million GDP.

Yudhoyono added that the country spent around four times the expenditure compared to the last nine years, thus opening the chance that the contribution would continue to rise.The President also called on the association members to actively participate in the Masterplan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI), which emphasized infrastructure development. Since the launch in 2011, the government has poured more than Rp 800 trillion ($67.26 billion) into the plan, and would require at least Rp 4.6 quadrillion to achieve the project target by 2025, Yudhoyono stated.

“Half of the funds will go to construction,” he said. “We have calculated that the government can only fund 30 percent of this at best. It means 70 percent will come from the private sector and state-owned enterprises,” he said, emphasizing that companies from Indonesia would be given priority. With its 55-year history, Yudhoyono said the association must look 55 years ahead for the next contributions it could give to the nation.

“Now, I ask you all to see what will happen in at least 15 years, if 55 years is too long. By that, you can establish new ideas for your business,” he said. Outgoing Gapensi chairman Soeharsojo hoped that the government could produce regulations that empowered the construction industry for sustainable development. “This would facilitate every party utilizing resources efficiently and support the development of the nation,” he said.

He added that Gapensi should contribute its thoughts to prepare the industry to face challenges for policy implementations related to the AEC, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) by 2020. Among others, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, Industry Minister MS Hidayat, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik and Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika were present at Monday’s opening ceremony.

During the event, Yudhoyono was handed by the association the Abiwada Rakai Panangkaran award — said to be the highest appreciation in the construction industry — for his visionary thoughts toward the nation’s development. The meeting will run until Wednesday and elect the association’s new chairman, who will lead the association from 2014 to 2019.

source : bali daily

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