Jokowi: Qatar Interested in Investing in Mandalika Economic Zone

INDONESIAN President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said the Emir of Qatar, Syah Tamim, was interested in investing in the Special Economic Zone (KEK) of Mandalika, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

"When we met the Qatari Emir, I showed him a picture of Mandalika; the Emir of Qatar is very impressed with the beauty of Mandalika," Jokowi stated during the inauguration of the Tourism KEK of Mandalika in Central Lombok District, West Nusa Tenggara.

After seeing the beauty of Mandalika, the Qatari Emir said he wanted to take advantage of all the investment opportunities in the Mandalika area, Jokowi affirmed.

"He (Emir) said, President Jokowi, I have taken it all. I immediately told him to wait first. You can send a team first, and then we talk about it," Jokowi revealed.

Considering the huge potential of the 1,175 hectares, Jokowi hoped that the investment in Mandalika KEK could be realized, as, if it is developed, it would have an impact on the welfare and economy of the people around the area.

"Investors should make clear rules. They should not sign a contract, and and later keep quiet," he stressed.

Jokowi emphasized that if the investors do not build the project in six months after the signing of the contract, the agreement should be canceled. If you do not want to build it, you should cancel it (the agreement), because there are many investors willing to invest in Mandalika.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated Mandalika as a special economic area in Central Lombok District, West Nusa Tenggara, with focus on the tourism industry.

The Mandalika special economic area for tourism was delayed for almost 29 years owing to issues related to land acquisition, President Jokowi noted in his remarks at the inauguration event.

President Jokowi believed that the slow progress in land acquisition in Mandalika was due to the high price or rejection by the locals.

“However, on visiting the area in April 2015, he found that the regional heads were skeptical about building a special economic area for tourism, as they did not have any legal protection. In fact, the low investor confidence to invest funds to develop the area also compounded the land acquisition issue in Mandalika,” President Jokowi observed.

He also mentioned that the governor and head of district were afraid. Hence, I discussed this matter during a cabinet meeting, and then issued a presidential decree, and less than two months later, we were able to procure the land smoothly.

Based on Mandalikas case, President Jokowi has urged officials to work comprehensively to build a public project.

"This project would not have even been completed even in 100 years, if we had not worked in detail. It applies to me as well. I would have never known that we had such a problem, if I had not conducted an onfield visit," he added. [antaranews/photo special]