Indonesia has announced a new visa policy under which the Indonesian Consulate will issue visa within couple of days if the documents are found complete and proper.
Consul General Hadi Santoso announced this while speaking on the occasion of formal inauguration of Pakistan Indonesia Business Forum (PIBF) at Indonesian Consulate on Friday. He said the PIBF had been formed in order to promote culture, education, tourism, and science and technology besides strengthening bilateral trade ties between the two countries. Hadi said his government was eyeing on promotion of tourism and trade and that was why visa policy for Pakistanis had been softened.
He said his consulate had issued 20 per cent more visas as compared to last year. About 10 per cent more visas would be issued as compared to last year. He mentioned that his consulate had issued 1,967 visas. He said under the policy Indonesian Airlines Garuda was also considering to start flight from Pakistan. He said the main purpose of the PIBF was not only to strengthen bilateral trade ties but also to boost cultural, educational, tourism, science and technology as well. He expressed his dismay over the volume of bilateral trade ties between the two brotherly countries as it stands at $2.23 billion against a potential of several billion dollars. He pointed out that out of $2.2 billion dollars, 93 per cent share was in favour of Indonesia.
He advised the Pakistani businessmen to fully exploit PTA (Preferential Trade Agreement) and export more to Indonesia in order to bridge the wide gap between the two countries’ trade volume. He mentioned that Pakistani exporters could also exploit Indonesia’s big market of Halal meat. Hadi said, under the plan of strengthening bilateral relations, the Karachi University had offered 10 scholarships to the Indonesian students while Indonesian government too had offered eight scholarships to Pakistani students. While explaining the issue of ban on export of Pakistani rice to Indonesia, he said the trade of rice was going on between the two governments. Later, he formally inaugurated the PIBF along with its President Shamoon Zaki.
PIBF President Shamoon Zaki said on the occasion that Pakistan-Indonesia relationship was particularly special, founded on common mutual religious and cultural outlook. “Indonesia is the world largest Muslim country in terms of its population, whereas Pakistan is the world’s second largest Muslim country. Indonesia and Pakistan have great potential to improve bilateral cooperation in multiple fields. At this time, Pakistan and Indonesia’s bilateral trade has risen dramatically from around $1.1 billion in 2013 to $2.204 billion in 2014 and total trade from Jan to July 2015 stood at $1.246 billion but it could be a significant increase in trade as the PIBF was exploring more items of trade.
“Indonesia and Pakistan have great potential to improve bilateral cooperation in multiple fields and businessmen of both the countries should interact frequently for promotion of two way trade,” he said. Pakistan is aiming to start negotiation on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Indonesia sometimes this year.