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Indonesia inequality gap 'continues to widen'
Publication Date : 23-01-2013
Indonesia’s remarkable economic growth has failed to translate into the eradication of poverty and the closing of the gap between the haves and the have nots, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday.
“When we talk about social disparity, we talk about injustice. I have repeated several times that the cost a country with high economic growth must pay is disparity. Without us realising, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen,” Yudhoyono told a Cabinet meeting at the State Secretariat.
The main agenda item in the meeting was the National Economic Committee (KEN) delivering a presentation to the government on suggestions for poverty eradication programmes.
Indonesia has enjoyed positive economic growth amid a crisis that has caused the growth many European countries to follow negative trends. With 6.3 per cent economic growth, Indonesia was among the top three nations, with the highest growth in 2012 alongside China and India.
According to the 2013 state budget, that growth could increase to 6.8 per cent this year, which would put Indonesia as the country with the second highest economic growth in the world after China.
Yudhoyono has repeatedly touted Indonesia’s economic growth in many international forums.
Critics, however, said that the government had failed to distribute the fruits of that growth to the poor and translate economic improvements into better welfare levels for poorer citizens.
The United Nations Development Programme reported that Indonesia in 2011 was ranked 124th out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), with a score of 0.617. Indonesia was 108 in 2010.
Among the countries of Asean, Indonesia was only ahead of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.