STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT. The reason SoftBank Group canceled its investment in the new capital Nusantara city project was that Indonesia wanted a fair investment model, Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia said during a working meeting with House Commission VI on Wednesday.
The minister revealed that SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son had met with President Jokowi, adding he had approached the billionaire several times. “In our opinion, the issued proposal is profitable for him, not profitable for the country. And we don’t want to be dictated (to),” he said. He cited the example of an offer submitted by SoftBank, in which it sought to determine the internal rate of return.
Entrepreneurs or investors are not allowed to control the state, as they — businesses and the government — need each other, he added. He assured that in spite of SoftBank’s exit, the Nusantara city project will still attract the interest of many investors. To date, a number of global investors have committed to investing in the new capital city.
A growing international profile has failed to attract funding for the president’s key domestic project with its gleaming offices, electric buses and economically productive residents, Nusantara is the quintessential modern metropolis-smack in the middle of a vast rainforest.
At least, that’s what the government brochures depict. What they don’t show quite so clearly is where Indonesia will find US$34 billion (RM148.58 billion) to build a new capital city from scratch.
With just 18 months left in his final term, President Joko Widodo is still aggressively courting international investors to finance 80% of a project that he hopes will elevate Indonesia’s economy, resettle millions of people from rapidly sinking Jakarta, and cement his own legacy. Hosting this year’s Group of 20 (G-20) summit was just the latest opportunity for the president, popularly known as Jokowi, to pitch the ambitious project.