Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia after the Opening of the Investor Daily Summit 2023, at Hutan Kota by Plataran, Senayan, Jakarta, October 24, 2023

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 24 Oktober 2023
Category: Remarks @en
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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Good morning,
Peace and prosperity be upon us,
Om swastiastu,
Namo Buddhaya,
Greetings of Virtue.

Distinguished Chairpersons and Heads of State Institutions, Ambassadors of Friendly Countries, Governor of Bank Indonesia, Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet, Acting Governor of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, President Director of BNI, Chairperson of B-Universe; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today, the world is getting increasingly uncertain. The challenges we face are not decreasing, but rather increasing. Climate change, which we used to consider as an absurdity, is now a reality. The drought, the super El Niño, has really hit us and rice production is declining in almost all countries. Twenty-two countries have put the brakes on. They have stopped exporting rice. These conditions, which we had never calculated before, have now emerged.

There is also the global economic downturn. We were waiting for it to go up by the next year, by the next year it would go up, but it has not happened yet. The policy of raising interest rates at a high rate and for a long time by the United States is also increasingly troublesome, especially for developing countries. Capital outflows all run back to the United States, further complicating all of us.

And the wars, the first war, the Ukraine war, it is not clear when it will end, then the second war, Hamas-Israel war, it is getting increasingly concerning for all countries today. Because the war might not only be in Israel and Palestine, but it might also spread to Lebanon, it might spread to Syria, it might spread to Iran, and it might complicate the economic issues of all countries because the price of oil will definitely rise.

Yesterday, I checked that the price of Brent was still at US$89 per barrel, but if the war spreads as I said earlier, we don’t know, it could reach US$150. This is what we must be aware of, be careful everyone, both on the monetary and fiscal aspects.

The future direction for our country is actually clear. What we have to do, what we have to work on, everything is clear. The plans are all in place. On the downstreaming, for example, we have a roadmap for mineral and coal, after we stop with the nickel [ore export], then we stop with the copper, then we stop with the bauxite, then we stop with the tin. Followed by the downstreaming in the fields of plantations, agriculture, marine, all of them, the roadmaps are clear. The key to sustainability is not in the macro policies, not in the macro plans, but more importantly, is on how to oversee the implementation. Working in details, we check the details. Working on the ground, we supervise and check the implementation on the ground. In other words, micro work is essential. We must complete the bottlenecking.

Indeed, we cannot only work on a macro level. We cannot. Instead, we must have a team, each ministry/institution must assign a team to oversee the implementation on the ground. Usually, the younger ones are pleased to be assigned to the ground. To monitor on the ground, to inspect on the ground, to supervise on the ground, so that it is in accordance with the policies that we have set.

I will give an example, for instance the construction of the MRT. The plan was already in place 26 years ago when I was a governor at the time. For 26 years the plan was there, but it was not executed. Indeed, there was a problem, the calculation showed that it was always a loss. The conclusion showed that it was a loss, so there was no courage to make decision. Another calculation, another conclusion of loss.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Such a decision is a political decision, not an economic decision for a company. Calculating the profit and loss is fine, but if it is calculated, and then it keeps showing a loss, will we not build the MRT? The same goes for LRT. It’s a question of how to cover the loss, from what source, from what budget, from what income, from what revenue. Those are the things we have to look for. Finally, we found it. We covered it using ERP, we covered it using Electronic Road Pricing. We found it, so it was decided. At that time, I decided it and it was a political decision. That the State Budget or Regional Budget now is still pouring Rp800 billion is an obligation, because it is a service, not a company with profit and loss.

Everyone’s face looks so serious right now. Maybe because it is still too early, so all of you look serious. I’ll just gift you a bicycle.

So, we really have to do the math and play a long game. We must really calculate our endurance, how long it will last. The last time I checked the State Budget as of October 13 yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Sri Mulyani, was still handling around Rp616 trillion, yes, in my opinion, it’s still a very substantial amount. So, for a long game until 2024, it’s still safe. And, if I see Mrs. Sri Mulyani smiling in the morning, I will feel calm at heart. But, if she doesn’t, we have to question.

Then, when looking at the global economic downturn, we are also grateful that our growth is still above 5 percent. Then, when looking at the percentage of currency depreciation, we are also still safe. It is safe in regard to the real sector, safe in regard to the financial sector, and safe in regard to inflation. Because yesterday, I met with the Governor of BI and FSA Head. I asked them what the credit growth was, and they said it was still growing well at 8.69 [percent]. This figure, in my opinion, is a good one.

And, today we will also have a meeting on how to trigger the economy, we will provide incentives. We have not decided yet. We still need to meet this afternoon to discuss providing incentives to the property sector, the housing sector to maintain the momentum of our economy. We will decide later. Maybe we will decide, decide soon that VAT will be borne by the Government. And, for the Low-Income Community [MBR] housing, for the lower economic community, there will also be assistance for the administration fee of Rp4 million that will be borne by the Government, so that it will trigger our economy.

Then also if we look into, I normally see it in taxes, taxes. Yesterday, the Minister of Finance also said that taxes still grew by 5.6 percent from last year’s baseline, meaning that there is still growth in state revenue. It means that if people pay taxes, their business is running. I usually do the check here, as long as the state revenue is still growing, the tax revenue is still growing, it means that our economy is still doing well. But once again, we all have to take a look at the challenges ahead that I have mentioned earlier. I think this concludes it.

And lastly, just so it doesn’t get too serious, I’m giving away a bicycle to anyone who can answer my question. Far from the eyes, but close to the heart. What is far from the eyes but close to the heart? Please raise your hand to answer. This one is the fastest. Yes, ma’am. Please introduce your name.

Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 Participant (Matthew Lembong)
Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Matthew Lembong. Nice to meet you.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Matthew, where are you from?

Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 Participant (Matthew Lembong)
I’m from the private sector, sir. Property.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
From property. Far from the eyes but close to the heart. Your answer, Matthew?

Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 Participant (Matthew Lembong)
I believe what is far from the eyes but close to the heart is the BNI Investor’s Daily Summit 2023.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Wrong, that is not the answer. Anyone else? Please, step forward, yes, step forward. Yes right, according to Matthew the BNI Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 is the correct answer, but not according to me. Please say your name.

Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 Participant (Zulfakar)
My name is Zulfakar, sir. Zulfakar.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Zulfakar. Mas Zul, please answer what is far from the eyes, close to the heart?

Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 Participant (Zulfakar)
The answer is bile, sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
One bicycle for you, alright.

Investor’s Daily Summit 2023 Participant (Zulfakar)
Thank you, sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Please return to your seat. You can pick up your bicycle at the palace. Only Mas Zul got a bicycle, Matthew didn’t get one.

Finally, by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I officially open the BNI Investor’s Daily Summit 2023.

I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

(FI/MMB)

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