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No slacking off, Indonesia's president-elect dashes on

Publication Date : 24-07-2014


Fully charged, president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo of Indonesia has demanded a piece of the action from the outgoing administration in directing the course of the nation, after the General Elections Commission (KPU) confirmed his victory on Tuesday.

While he awaits his inauguration on Oct. 20, Jokowi will establish a temporary office where he, vice president-elect Jusuf Kalla and a team will immediately draft working priorities to be executed once they assume office.

Jokowi’s team has also asked that it be kept in the loop by the current administration regarding the deliberation of the 2015 state budget, scheduled to be endorsed by the current House of Representatives in August.

“We are preparing a ‘transitional office’ to map out priorities, and people considered capable of handling them, during the next two-and-a-half months until Oct. 20, so that after that we can immediately start work,” Jokowi said on Wednesday.

On the possible formation of his Cabinet, he acknowledged that several party members from the rival Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa coalition had approached his side.

However, Jokowi brushed off concerns about possible transactional politics, providing assurances that his Cabinet line-up would be filled with professionals deemed the best for the job.

A leader with a “Mr. Fix-It” reputation, Jokowi has also wasted little time in pressing for the economic reforms desired by investors who have pinned high hopes on his presidency.

Jokowi planned to cooperate with outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the formulation of the 2015 budget, said Arif Budimanta, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker who is a member of Jokowi’s economic team.

“We are thinking of inserting our strategic programs into the budget formulated by President SBY,” Arif said after holding a meeting with party officials on the incoming government’s transitional plan.

By doing so, Jokowi hoped that his own budget next year would not see significant alterations and would already be in line with his own economic vision and mission, according to Arif. “That way, people would not have to wait too long [for economic reforms] to be implemented.”
In his presidential campaign, Jokowi vowed to spur Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to at least 7 per cent, a level of economic expansion that he has argued is achievable in a five-year term of leadership.

He vowed to boost tax revenue collection and undertake fuel subsidy reforms, allocating the funds to growth-generating projects such as infrastructure.

The fuel subsidy — seen as a persistent bugbear for Indonesia’s economy as it consumes 15 per cent of total state spending — would be fully eliminated within a four-year time frame, Jokowi has previously pledged.

Reforms of the fuel subsidy could be initiated by a plan to lobby Yudhoyono to raise fuel prices by around 15 per cent this year, with Jokowi subsequently implementing another 15 per cent increase next year, according to Fauzi Ichsan, a Jakarta-based analyst who advises Jokowi on economic affairs.

“If the price of subsidised fuel is not adjusted now, then Jokowi will inherit a state budget that is very burdensome,” Fauzi said.

Government officials have confirmed they were already in discussions regarding the design of the 2015 state budget, slated to be presented to lawmakers on Aug. 15.

Finance Minister Chatib Basri said that he would welcome the intention of the Jokowi-Kalla government to take part in the discussion on the budget’s framework.


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