Indonesian economic ministers are targeting 15 priority programs to be completed in the next six months - Photo by Coordinating Economy Ministry

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian economic ministers are targeting 15 priority programs to be completed in the next six months to encourage growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, and competitiveness the Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

“Today’s meeting is the first step to coordinate and synchronize the mindset of a program that is in harmony between the ministers in the economic sector,” coordinating minister for the economy Airlangga Hartarto told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday (11/07).

The minister explained, there was a 15 priority program that was expected to be completed within the next 6 months as instructed Presiden Joko Widodo earlier.

“Previously the President had said that the first 6 months will determine our economic conditions. Our challenge is whether we can handle the problems that arise in the midst of a slow down economy,” Hartarto said.

The priority programs include the implementation of the mandatory B30 program, the improvement of the employment ecosystem, halal product guarantee, pharmaceutical industry research and development, and the strengthening of the PT Trans-Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI), that the government plans to convert into a state-owned enterprise.

There are also improvements to the people’s business credit policy, pre-work card implementation, and the development of Batam, Bintan, and Karimun areas.

Then, coal gasification, export-oriented horticulture development, technology-based agricultural partnerships, regional financial electronification acceleration, green refinery, and working copyright omnibus.

“That way, we hope this will facilitate us in following up and completing the 15 priority programs well,” he said.

In addition, the ministers also designing the 2020-2024 work program. Lifting the theme of Indonesia’s economic growth which is inclusive, sustainable and competitive, there are four program groups targeted.

First, a program to encourage quality economic growth. Second, programs to improve economic equality and reduce inequality. Third, programs to support economic sustainability. Fourth, programs to improve economic competitiveness.

Previously, Widodo urged the economic ministers to create breakthrough programs in order to reduce the trade balance and current account deficit (CAD). He delivered the order at the limited meeting at the president’s office weeks ago.

“We must ensure that we can continue to boost the investment and at the same time reduce our dependence on imported goods, especially oil imports which have a very large impact on our trade balance deficit,” he told the ministers at the meeting.

On import issues, he asked the ministers to find a solution on how to increase the domestic oil lifting by implementing new and renewable energy policies. Especially the mandatory of 20-percent biodiesel use (B20) to B30, then jumping to B50 and B100.

Moreover, to accelerate the goods move inter the island and stabilize the commodity price, the president also expects the sea highway program to be continued, said the leader. Lately, he notes, the goods movement is controlled by a certain private sector.

“Sea tolls are built to reduce logistics costs, transport costs so that prices fall. If controlled by one person we only provide facilities to him. This is what we don’t want,” Widodo asserted.

On the investment side, the head of state requested the Investment Coordinating Board should focus on specific projects. He gave example bauxite and other import goods.

“Why don’t we make it half-finished or finished products together with a partner. Can be stated own enterprises or private,” said president.

Besides oil, the largest import in the country is petrochemical. He was surprised, why Indonesia needs a very big import while the country has great potential to build the plant in this region. He suggested PT Tuban Petrochemicals Indonesia become a state-owned company and the areas transform become industrial zones

“Exit from there can be goods that do not need to be imported including hydrogen can be used for B30, B50 or B100. Please, guarded this so we can catch up with the current account and trade deficits,” he asserted.

Related to tourism, he urged the minister to concentrate on five top priority destinations namely Lake Toba in North Sumatera, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Mandalika in Lombok and Manado in North Sulawesi.

“Concentrate there. We are targeting by the end of 2020 the infrastructure, airport roads, ports, tourism products and the calendar of events will be completed,” said Widodo.

Besides, he also proposed his cabinet must improve the climate and the ecosystem of investment and ease of doing business so that domestic and international trust is much better for the country.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com