Opening Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Inauguration of the 17th National Work Meeting of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association on Friday, 5 March 2021 at Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java Province
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
May peace be upon us all,
Greetings of Virtue.
Distinguished Ministers of Indonesia Onward Cabinet,
Distinguished founder of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI) Abdul Latif and former Chairpersons of HIPMI who are present,
Distinguished Chairperson of HIPMI Central Management Board and all members of HIPMI Central Management Board and Regional Management Boards at the province level, as well as members of HIPMI Branch Management Board at the regency and city level,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The Indonesia Onward Cabinet is like HIPMI Cabinet. I do not know how many are from HIPMI, Mr. Bahlil, Mr. Lutfi, Mr. Erick, Mr. Sandi, who else? It cannot be counted. So many join HIPMI.
I understand, all of us understand that the challenges entrepreneurs, the business world encounter in the past year were not easy at all. In fact, they were very difficult, I know. Not just entrepreneurs, but all Indonesian people and even all global citizens are encountering difficult health crises and economic crises at the same time. However, I am confident that HIPMI members will not give up and will not be discouraged. I am confident that HIPMI members can turn challenges into opportunities, turn this disaster into an economic rebound, as long as HIPMI members live up to their motto: to become fighting entrepreneurs and entrepreneur fighters in reality.
Your struggle and hard work will serve as a big energy to transform Indonesia into a developed country. Indonesia’s economic growth in 2021 has been targeted to reach 4.5 to 5.5 (percent), approximately 5 percent. It means that in a year, we must change the figure from negative 2.19 (percent) to positive 5 (percent) and perhaps even more. The key is investment.
Where is Mr. Bahlil? As Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Mr. Bahlil holds the key. Every day I call and ask him how much we can gain this year. How many trillions the increase can be. Who the investors are. How far the process has been. Whether the target is achieved. Every day. Thankfully, he is calm and motivated. If not, maybe he would have collapsed because I chase him every day. Indeed, we must chase each other in such a situation.
What does it mean? It opens up many business opportunities, which open job vacancies and can provide public welfare. If we want it, there are numerous opportunities. I always order Head of the BKPM to connect and to partner investment, investors, both foreign investors and major domestic investors, with HIPMI entrepreneurs, regional entrepreneurs. This is an order, so if it is not executed, you can chase Mr. Bahlil to do it, not me. I am the one who asks, “Oh, there is an investor in this province, with whom is the investor cooperating?” I only ask about that. “Yes, Sir, with this party.” “Yes, okay.”
Because I can see that with downstream industrialization, we will truly move towards a proper economic transformation and it will send Indonesia to the top five countries with the strongest economy in the world if it is successful. We must be careful. It is a big challenge. Because Indonesia’s economy is huge, the business opportunities must be huge, too. Indonesia’s domestic market is huge. A population of 270 million people is a huge domestic market.
We have a huge purchasing power. Our consumption index also increased to 84.9 (percent) in January 2021 after it dropped to 79 (percent) in October 2020. Our household consumption has also shown a positive trend, although it is still negative 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter after it slumped to negative 5.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020.
Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020 was in the top 15 of the world’s highest GDP and numerous world agencies forecasted that Indonesia will be one of the top five countries with the strongest GDP in the world. And in 2021, our GDP has been forecast to return, as I mentioned before, to 4.5 to 5.5 percent. Indonesia’s economic improvement supported on the demand side should not only benefit imported products, but it should also boost domestic product consumption so domino effects are created. Hence, the urge to move domestic economy is bigger.
Yesterday, I appealed to the public to love Indonesian products, to be proud of Indonesian products, and we can say that we dislike imported products. Are we not allowed to dislike them? It is OK to dislike imported products. Why did people make a fuss about it? No, I did not say hate imported products, but they made a fuss about it. We are allowed to dislike imported products, aren’t we?
Nevertheless, to achieve consumer loyalty to domestic products, there are requirements. If the price is competitive and the quality is good, we certainly can achieve it. Producers must continue to enhance the quality, improve the packaging, improve the design to follow the trend. And we are also happy, we used to import a lot of goods, such as rayon fibers, plastic pellets, but they are already domestically manufactured.
I always remind my Ministries and agencies, state-owned enterprises (BUMN) that all BUMN must increase the Domestic Component Level. Government projects, BUMN projects should not use imported products. If possible, it should be locked. It will increase the demand for domestic products significantly.
We can produce pipes, but many of them are still imported. What for? They are used for government projects, for BUMN projects. If I say this is not allowed, it is not allowed. And it must begin and we must truly be brave to begin. At least if the Government and BUMN do it, the figure is already huge. Then, we must appeal to the public to love and be proud of Indonesian products and dislike imported products.
Once again, let me assert that we adhere to economic openness; we do not ban anything. But let me also assert that we are not a nation that favors protectionism. No, we are not. Because history has proven that protectionism leads to disadvantages. However, we must not fall victim to unfair practices of global trade either. We do not want that. We must leverage the domestic market optimally because it is huge – 270 million (people) with a huge purchasing power to boost our national economy.
I understand that our domestic technology is still not advanced. It is alright to import technology from foreign companies, but the production should be done here in Indonesia. We certainly always make the transfer of technology and human resource capabilities an obligation so that we can follow them and level up, so various job vacancies are available for the public.
I also always stress that Indonesia always attracts investment and advanced technology to enter the country, build their factory in Indonesia for foreign markets or domestic markets so we can grow together. Do not let them benefit, while we take a back seat. No, not anymore. Therefore, I always order (Government agencies) to partner them with the private sector, partner them with regional entrepreneurs, partner them with BUMN.
I refuse to let our country merely become a market, only a market. I also refuse to let unfair practices occur, especially to the extent that it harms MSMEs. That must not happen. There are many predatory pricing practices. We must be vigilant against this. It can kill the small (businesses). I have ordered my Cabinet, particularly Minister of Trade, to watch it carefully.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished HIPMI members,
Once again, we are not protectionists and you must be able to compete at the global level in a new context. And now the global competition is very tight. There are hyper-competitions and the world is currently experiencing disruption, double disruption, in fact, namely the fourth Industrial Revolution and the pandemic that changes many things. Business fields, technology, and business models have changed and your role as young entrepreneurs seems to be at a great advantage because you can directly move to a new type of business with a new business model that has been trending recently. We must upscale and rescale quickly so we win the super tight competition.
Business opportunities will expand widely. God willing, the COVID-19 pandemic is more controlled and will soon be under control. Investment will continue to grow rapidly with a wider range of funding alternatives. The Government has just formed INA. For the record, the Indonesia Investment Authority will accelerate investment in our country.
The Government also continues to be committed to encouraging MSME entrepreneurs to play a role in our national economic recovery. The Government will grant incentives and stimuli again, so our MSMEs can secure and develop their business, as well as boost national economy, including job creation. To support economic equality in regions, the Government also continues to push for collaborations with big companies, major investors, new and old investors with young entrepreneurs in the regions. I have stated the purpose, for the local entrepreneurs to benefit directly from investment.
I receive a report every day, every week from Head of the BKPM that in the first stage, Rp1.5 trillion has been executed for the collaboration between major investors and MSME entrepreneurs. This is quite a big figure, but we hope it will continue to increase with such patterns of partnership.
I have also ordered related ministers to oversee this policy, (Coordinating) Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of Trade, Minister of BUMN, and also Head of the BKPM, Minister of Tourism whom we all know are our HIPMI seniors.
That concludes my speech on this auspicious occasion and by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I hereby inaugurate the Meeting of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association Central Management Board of 2019-2022 today.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. (DH/MEP)