On Thursday, 27 August 2020, ACI conducted a webinar for the Riau Islands province, titled “The Inaugural Provincial Dialogue on the Economy and Development 2020 for Riau Islands”. The webinar was a part of ACI’s Subnational Competitiveness Webinar Series. Those in attendance included senior officeholders from various government agencies from Riau Islands province, members of Indonesian Employers’ Association (APINDO) of Riau Islands, and academics from the Polytechnic of Batam.
Watch the video to view highlights from the Riau Islands Provincial Dialogue and download the full webinar report below.
Mr. Rafki Rasyid from DPP APINDO Riau Islands highlighted a few key challenges regarding the SEZs in Riau Islands. He mentioned that several demonstrations by university students protested against the employment of hundreds of foreign experts in Galang Batang SEZ. Mr. Rafki also mentioned issues regarding the ease of doing business in the province, attributed to expensive logistical costs, and limited tax holiday incentives, which makes the business climate less attractive.
To deal with the demonstration and skills mismatch issues in the SEZ, Mr. Naharuddin clarified that the government will soon provide information to the wider society regarding the needs for the private sector to employ foreign experts. He agreed that there has been an undersupply of experts in the province. Mr Naharuddin mentioned that the government sector will further improve the vocational education and trainings to close the skill gaps.
Mr. Bambang from the Polytechnic of Batam iterated that if the Government Regulation of the two SEZs are officially established, Riau Islands will become one of only two provinces in Indonesia to house more than one SEZ. As a closing remark, Mr. Bambang argued that good internal governance is the key to achieve sustainable competitiveness in the long term.