My numeracy is virtually zero, so I'll trust you'll bear with me while I argue that 2 + 2 = 5, and all without most of my usual links because, apart from Indonesia Anonymous
and Green Stump
, I'm not sure that any of you actually check where my postulations are coming from.
There have been many recent events in the Indonesian business world which I have problems in understanding. These range from the billionaires mysteriously disappearing from the Forbes list to the recent manouverings by pribumi
(i.e. non-Chinese) family groups to take control of major resources.
The latest in that particular scenario is the postponing, again, of the high-profile subway project - running the 14.3 kilometers from Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to downtown Kota in Central Jakarta
. I'm not going to comment on the sheer improbability of the project being completed next year, let alone started, or that building a subway system in a sinking metropolis seems to be more pie-in-the-sky. (And if you can find a better mixed metaphor than that, please leave it in the comments box.)
Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said that the government was currently considering loans from several countries in the Middle East, as well as from the local private sector coordinated by state enterprises.
The estimated cost for the MRT project is US$767.66 million, with $521.75 million expected to come from foreign loans and the remaining $245.91 million from local funding.
In the early stages of negotiations, Japan was committed to providing 70 percent of the total cost of the project, with the remaining 30 percent to come from the Jakarta administration, in cooperation with private companies.
Later, the Indonesian government proposed the construction should be funded 75 percent locally, in the hope that the project would not exclusively use Japanese technology and components, but would instead be able to absorb more local workers and materials.
Japan, of course, would like to see its loans tied to Japanese technology and components.
And what Jakartass would like to see, perhaps from Yosef Ardi
, Arianto A. Patunru
, the guys at Café Salemba
and Rasyad A. Parinduri
who are Indonesian bloggers focussing on economics and business - in English, is an in-depth breakdown of the local families seeking their slices of the mega projects being prised away from foreign investors. (Freeport, Newmont, Exxon anyone?).
Let it not be suggested that the familiar KKN (korupsi, kollusi, nepotisme
) are back in play, but there does seem to be an element of kronyism
. Of course, I stand to be corrected, but there are enough hints and rumours circulating to indicate that there is a major play for business power going on.
Back on the street this morning, I heard from my taxi driver a rather disturbing rumour. As usual I had waited for a tarif lama
(old tariff) taxi to pick me up. A saving of $4/5 (Rp.35/40,000) per day is worth having. The recent rises in fuel costs have substantially reduced the number of us using taxis, so many taxi firms stayed with the old fares. Moreover, a couple of companies who had changed their meters to the new rate, the tarif baru
, had, because of the loss and lack of custom, reverted to the old rate.
The Blue Bird Group can be considered the largest company of its kind in Asia and possibly in the world. From modest beginnings in 1972 - with only 25 taxi cabs - the Blue Bird Group's fleet now has over 8200 vehicles. The company offers services ranging from taxis, executive taxis, limousines and all sizes of buses to container trucks.
Yep, it's big and generally very reliable and resolutely refused to lower its tariff, believing that the public preferred
This has always been true to some extent, but it too has suffered as many of us have transferred our affections and wallets to other transport alternatives.
And the rumour which seriously upset my driver this morning? That due to the 'politik
' (the political clout) of Blue Bird, all taxi companies are being forced to charge tarif baru
, starting this week. This would of course, benefit Blue Bird known
for its internal and external honesty, utmost discipline, courtesy to customers and a craving for excellence.
If true, I can see a time when some taxis will operate without meters in order to attract customers, and that can't be good.
NB. Mrs. Mutiara Djokosoetono, SH., Founder & President Director of Blue Bird, was a good friend of Madam Tien Suharto.