Jakarta (ANTARA) - At least 19 special economic zones (SEZs) have absorbed Rp106.6 trillion (US$6.82 billion) in investment since their initiation in 2004, the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs informed on Thursday.

Expert staff for regulation, law enforcement, and economic resilience at the ministry, Elen Setiadi, said that 9 of the 19 SEZs are active in the services sector, particularly tourism.

"The 19 SEZs have absorbed Rp106.6 trillion in investment from tourism developers, construction and developing companies, and tourism actors," Setiadi informed during a national coordination meeting of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy/Tourism and Creative Economy Agency here on Thursday.

Setiadi, who is concurrently serving as the acting secretary general of the National SEZ Council, said that 72 percent of investments in the 19 SEZs originated from foreign sources.

"This is consistent with the President's instruction to direct the foreign investment to be realized in SEZs, particularly tourism SEZs," he added.

Of the 18,758 hectares of land earmarked for the SEZs, around 77.8 percent has been acquired and 24.3 percent has been utilized, Setiadi expounded. The authority expects the occupancy rate at the SEZs to reach at least 51 percent, he added.

Meanwhile, the investment realization of 245 enterprises at the 19 SEZs has reached Rp81.7 trillion out of the investment commitment of Rp146.2 trillion (US$93.5 billion), he informed.

"We still have close to Rp60 trillion (US$3.84 billion) unrealized investment gap, and we expect (the investment) to reach 80 percent of the committed value, or Rp120 trillion (US$7.68 billion), by 2024," the expert staff noted.

The 19 SEZs have provided jobs for 47,760 direct workers, the official added.

Setiadi said that some challenges to developing tourism SEZs have included the COVID-19 pandemic, the unique conditions of tourism SEZs in determining fiscal incentives, and lack of commitment from companies to realizing investment and development plans.

Financing support and supporting infrastructures, as well as initiatives to participate in overseas travel events to promote Indonesian tourism, are necessary to bolster the development of tourism SEZs, he added.

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Translator: Ade Irma Junida, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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