Jakarta. State-owned toll road operator Jasa Marga issued on Thursday (30/08) an asset-backed collective investment contract, of KIK-EBA, the first of its kind, backed by toll road revenue, paving the way for alternative financing for the government's infrastructure projects.
Jasa Marga managed to raise Rp 2 trillion ($150 million) from the issuance, with demand for the securities reaching more than twice the target.
"Thank God 'the egg was broken today' [Indonesian idiom for a breakthrough]. Hopefully other eggs will follow," President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said at the issuance ceremony.
The president has been struggling to fund his ambitious infrastructure push, with faltering tax revenue amid weak economic recovery and increasing demand for subsides for the poor, which push the state's budget deficit dangerously near its legal limit.
This contains the government's ability to inject new capital to its infrastructure companies and requires them to find other sources of financing.
Under the collective investment contract scheme, Jasa Marga will borrow funds from investors and will pay them back in the next five years with the Jagorawi Toll Road revenue.
The contract will allow Jasa Marga to get cash for its projects, including the Jakarta-Bandung fast train and sections of the Trans Java Toll Road, instead of having to wait years to collect sufficient capital. The company needs Rp 18 trillion to meet its capital expenditure needs this year.
As the scheme proved popular with investors — it attracted Rp 5.1 trillion bidding, 2.5 times the target — Jasa Marga should be able to push down the cost of funding well below bank interest.
Jokowi, however, was not satisfied with Jasa Marga needing nine months to clear all necessary paperwork for the contract.
Jasa Marga president director Desi Arryani said the delay was due to backlog at the tax office, which took months to produce a confirmation letter that the contract is exempted from value added tax, just like toll roads. Desi said investors requested the letter to avoid unpleasant surprises with hidden taxes.
"It's just one piece of paper ... Jasa Marga needed nine months to obtain it," Jokowi said, adding that he expects all government institutions to speed up similar processes in the future.