Health industry investment priority amid pandemic: minister

Health industry investment priority amid pandemic: minister

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, at the 2021 Health Business Gathering in Bali on Friday (December 3, 2021). (ANTARA/HO-Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment/uyu)

The health industry has great potential in Indonesia.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has said that the health industry has become a priority investment sector in the midst of the global pandemic.

"Reflecting upon our experience in handling COVID-19, Indonesia needs to reduce its dependence on imported products. Thus, the health industry has become one of the priority investment sectors," he remarked at the 2021 Health Business Gathering in Bali on Friday.

The current global health trend is pushing the growth of the healthcare industry due to the pandemic, changing customer demand, shifting focus on cost control, the discovery of new therapies, as well as digital and telemedicine innovation, he noted.

"The health industry has great potential in Indonesia as middle-class households’ income has increased and universal healthcare is increasingly encouraged," the coordinating minister stated.

He said he believed that supporting the development of the industry will increase the variety of exported products and reduce exports of raw materials.

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Furthermore, he informed that Indonesia's trade deficit in medical devices increased almost fourfold from US$161 million in 2013 to US$531 million in 2020.

In fact, over the last two years, Indonesia’s imports have climbed by more than 10 percent to reach US$703 million in 2020, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, exports have grown by just around three percent to five percent in the last three years, he said. In fact, they were pegged at just US$171 million in 2020, he added.

Indonesia relies heavily on imports of advanced medical devices, while its exported products are limited despite the country having all the necessary production resources, the minister said.

“Almost all medical device imports continue to increase, with the highest record being the electrodiagnosis devices by US$87 million, ultrasonic scanning devices by US$70 million, as well as needles, catheters, cannula and such by US$43 million," he noted.

At the same event, coordinating deputy for investment and mining at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Septian Hario Seto, inked three Letters of Intent (LoI) worth around Rp110 billion with three medical device companies.

Another 30 companies are expected to invest and manufacture medical devices in Indonesia soon, he informed.

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