Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the 2023 National Coordination Meeting of Regional Leaders and Regional Leadership Coordination Forum across Indonesia at Sentul International Convention Centre, Bogor Regency, West Java Province, January 17, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatuh,
May peace be upon us all,
Greetings of virtue.
Distinguished Coordinating Ministers and Ministers,
Distinguished Governor of Bank Indonesia,
Distinguished Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces, Chief of the Indonesian National Police, Attorney General, Head of the State Intelligence Agency,
Distinguished heads of non-ministerial government agencies,
Distinguished Governors, Regents, Mayors, Speakers of the Regional Legislative Councils (DPRD) at the provincial, city, and regency levels,
Distinguished Speakers of Papuan People’s Assembly and West Papuan People’s Assembly and Speakers of Papua Regional Legislative Council and West Papua Regional Legislative Council,
Distinguished Wali Nanggroe,
Distinguished Commanders of Military Regions, Commanders of Military Precincts, and Commanders of Military Districts,
Distinguished High Prosecutor Generals and District Prosecutor Generals,
Distinguished Heads of Statistics Indonesia [regional offices] in attendance and Head of the Finance and Development Supervisory Agency (BPKP),
Ladies and Gentlemen whom I cannot name one by one,
First of all, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for our hard work in managing the pandemic. Thank God, we have managed to handle the pandemic well. We have also succeeded to manage economic stability so it stood in a very good position. It was all thanks to the hard work of all of us.
During the pandemic, we hurried to find personal protective equipment, hurried to find face masks, hurried to obtain vaccines, and finally hurried to obtain oxygen when Delta variant peaked. Once again, thanks to the hard work of all of us, we were able to handle COVID-19.
As of today, we have administered 448 million doses of vaccine to all our citizens. Injecting 448 million doses of vaccine is not an easy thing, but since every national element gets involved, including the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), the National Police, all governors, regents, mayors, down to neighborhood units (RT), we managed to tackle the pandemic well. Compare it with other countries. None of them handled it as thoroughly as we did. We implemented the total football strategy at the time because everyone played their roles in tackling the pandemic.
As for our economy, although it is in a good—very good position, thank God, the estimate of our year-on-year growth in 2022 is 52 or 53… 5.2 or 5.3 [percent]. Compare it with other countries.
However, although we managed to face the economic turbulence in 2022, we must remain vigilant since 2023 will still be a challenging year for global economy. Be careful. Everyone must be careful, work hard, and monitor all information and data on the ground so any policy we formulate will not go in the wrong direction. The policy designed must be based on data and facts on the ground.
At the beginning of 2023, the managing director of IMF stated that—this is a reminder for us to be careful and vigilant although our economic growth is in a very good position. Be careful. In 2023, according to Kristalina Georgieva, a third of the global economy is predicted to be in recession. Even in countries that are not in recession, hundreds of millions of people would feel like they are facing recession. Be careful. One third means approximately 70 countries. And economic turbulence due to the pandemic, due to the war, has made 47 countries to line up for the IMF’s assistance.
Remember in ’97-’98, Indonesia received assistance from the IMF. Our economy collapsed, so did our politics. Now, 47 countries and others are lining up at the IMF’s door. Therefore, we must have the same frequency in facing these difficult situations. The global situation is not easy at all. And now inflation is an issue that all countries face. This is an issue for all countries. And we must also be grateful that our inflation rate is 5.5 percent. We must be grateful. It is thanks to the hard work of all of us. Compare it with other countries. Some countries’ inflation rate reached 92 percent. The European Union’s is 9.2 percent. The rate is very high.
That is why I am urging all governors, regents, and mayors, as well as Bank Indonesia (BI) to continuously monitor the prices of goods and services at the markets, so we can detect [inflation] early before it is too late. Therefore, we can anticipate and solve it.
Be careful with rice price increase. Now, we must work on the details, which prices increase at the markets. Rice. Two days ago, I warned Bulog about this issue because there has been a significant price increase in 79 regions. As for eggs, the prices also soared in 89 regions. Little things. Tomato prices surged in 82 regions and broiler meat prices increased in 75 regions.
Regents, mayors, and governors should inspect the markets frequently. Please check thoroughly on the ground whether the data provided is in accordance with the facts on the ground. You must not manipulate the data to please me. “Yes, Sir. There is no price increase, Sir. The prices are stable, Sir.” I will check directly at the markets. Thus, regional offices of the Statistics Agency must provide regional leaders with the real data.
In addition, be careful with the tariffs set by the Central Government and regional governments. Let me give you an example, PDAM (Drinking Water Regional Agency) tariffs. Be careful with it. Electricity and fuel prices are managed by the Central government. However, regional governments manage other tariffs, such as transportation fares, PDAM tariffs. Please determine them carefully as they can trigger inflation. So, calculate carefully. If you can still hold it, please hold; if not, then it is okay to increase the tariffs, but make it as low as possible. For example, PDAM cannot raise it by more than a hundred percent. I have the data.
Second, on inflation—sorry, on inflation. I noticed that Ministry of Home Affairs, BI, all of them continue to send information to the regions, so all regions have the data. As for the measures that must be taken, I refuse to repeat them this morning because everyone knows how to cover transportation fares, how to enhance farmers’ productivity. For example, if tomato prices are expensive, tell farmers to plant tomatoes. If chili prices are expensive, tell them to plant chilis. I do not have to repeat it.
Second, on extreme poverty. I suppose we already have the data of those who live in extreme poverty. Each region down to the village level has the data. Regional leaders, please do check it. The rate of 14 provinces remains above the national rate although our target is to alleviate extreme poverty to 0 percent in 2024. This is not an easy target. In 2022, the rate remained at 2 percent with 14 provinces’ rate surpassing the national rate. We already have all the data, meaning we are aware of who the targets are. As for the measures, I suppose I do not have to state them anymore all regional governments have already known what interventions must be carried out.
Third, on stunting. Beware of this issue. We have a demographic bonus and it will peak in 2030-2035. If our human resources are neither bright minded nor productive, it will not bring us any benefit. Instead, it will be a huge burden to the country. For that reason, stunting must be stopped for the development of Indonesia’s human resources. In 2014, the prevalence was 37 percent. In 2021, it went down to 24 [percent]. I suppose it was 21 percent in 2022, approximately. It is a drastic drop. However, our target is to reduce it to below 14 percent. It is not easy, but once again, if we work as hard as we worked to tackle the pandemic, I am sure that it is not hard to do. We have the data.
Beware of stunting. 23 percent of stunting cases is caused by prenatal determinants, when the babies are still in the womb. The contribution is 23 percent. It is huge. Therefore, let me remind regional leaders, regional government offices, the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) to continue to remind expectant mothers about the importance of nutrition and check whether they have anemia. Check thoroughly because that is the key. 37 percent of stunting cases is caused by postnatal determinants, between birth and 23 months, two years after birth. It is harder to solve this issue.
Let me also remind you to not feed [babies] with ultra-processed food, such as biscuits, instant porridge, during the intervention period, golden period of intervention. Be careful. Many people do this, but this is wrong. Instead, feed them with animal proteins that are high in iron. I suppose everyone knows that. I actually don’t want to state it anymore, but let me repeat it; chicken livers, eggs, baby anchovies. We need to understand it. If we don’t, how can we make interventions? Once again, minimally processed food is better.
Once again, do remind community health centers and integrated health posts to be active in helping expectant mothers and mothers of toddlers about anemia. We must check it. Do remind them about six months of exclusive breastfeeding and most importantly to monitor the situation on the ground because all mothers require different interventions. Technology is important. Application platforms are essential to monitor their condition, so I appreciate what Sumedang regency has carried out. They have utilized a technology platform to monitor stunting. I have ordered Sumedang regency to share information about their platform and application. Others only have to copy them. yesterday, I also went to Kampar regency whose stunting prevalence decreased. In Sumedang, it was 32 percent three years ago, but in 2022 it declined to 7 percent. Kampar regency has also succeeded, but they did not utilize application platforms. Instead, foster children are given to the care of big companies in Kampar regency. 100 children, 200 children, 50 children were given to their care and as a result, the prevalence dropped from 27 [percent] to approximately 8 percent. It is a very significant decline.
Furthermore, on investment. Investment. It is key to our economic growth in 2023. Be careful with investment. All countries fight for investments now. In this very difficult situation, investment is key, export is key. We must all be aware of it. Therefore, I always say that we all must pay attention to investment. Licensing must not take months to process.
Beware. We are facing two main problems in the regions. The first is spatial planning. Spatial planning is a huge problem for our investment. Now, spatial planning is a problem for almost half of the regions in the country. They have not resolved their spatial planning problem. Therefore, I order Speakers of the Regional Legislative Councils (DPRD) and regional governments to resolve this issue. The second problem related to investment is building construction permit (IMB), which is now called building construction approval (PBG). The terms kept changing and it causes difficulty. The term should consist of only two words, building permit. It was called IMB, building construction permit. Now the term is building construction approval. It should just be building permit. The important thing is not the term but the quick process.
These two still remain our main problems. We must solve them fast. Those issues are the top two of our problems. I order governors, regents, mayors, and DPRD to immediately solve those issues. Do not make a delay. We are aware that 53 percent of investment in our country is outside Java Island. This is good. The distribution is equal. Since many infrastructure constructions have been made outside Java Island, investment flowed outside the island of Java. It is very good for equal growth. In 2022, 53 percent of investment was outside Java island. Our investment target in 2022 was Rp1,200 trillion and we achieved Rp1,270 trillion in 2022. This is great because we were able to create 1.3 million jobs, 1.3 million. Therefore, once again, investment is key to our economic growth.
Fifth, on regional budget (APBD) and domestic component level (TKDN) bureaucracy. We have 4.2 million state civil apparatus (ASN) and 2.3 million non-ASN employees. This is a huge number and now ASN has new performance indicators. There are KPIs in accordance with Government priorities, namely investment, poverty [alleviation], digitalization, inflation, and TKDN. I repeat; investment, poverty [alleviation], digitalization, inflation, and TKDN. I will also order Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform to also set clear KPIs for the Indonesian National Police (Polri), the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), and Attorney’s Offices.
Therefore, do make sure that regional budgets are spent on domestic products directly or through e-Catalog. Let me remind you of the importance of e-Catalog for all regions. State Budget and regional budget realization of domestic product spending is still 61 percent, 61 percent. This year, the realization must be higher. Hopefully it can be 100 percent. And I also need to tell you that at the end of 2022, Rp123 trillion of regional budgets was still kept at the bank. Do not applaud it. Now, we should check the amount on a daily basis; how much money the provinces have, how much money the regencies have, how much money the cities have, which province has the most money, which city has the most money, which regency has the most money. It is all visible. Now there is still Rp123 trillion.
For this reason, I urge all regional governments, especially those that have a big regional revenue (PAD) and profit-sharing fund, meaning those that have a big [income from] parking tax, restaurant tax, hotel tax, to design programs, to plan programs before the implementation year. There must not be any budget surplus.
Therefore, the Government now allows regional governments to establish endowment fund. The Central Government has sovereign wealth fund now. Regional governments can also establish it. Those with a high budget realization and regional revenue can set aside some of the amount for endowment fund. It is stated in the law or Government regulation on the financial relations between the Central Government and regional governments. The Central Government as of 2022 has collected Rp124 trillion for education endowment fund. This year, I suppose it will increase to Rp144 trillion. Regional governments can also do the same and endowment fund can be invested. It can be invested in the Indonesia Investment Authority (INA). This is our sovereign wealth fund, INA. If INA wants to purchase a toll road, a harbor, or an airport, it can use endowment fund and gain a much higher return.
Finally, on urban planning. Let me remind you that we have 514 regencies and cities and now we have more provinces. How many provinces are there in total, Sir? 38 provinces. Be careful with urban planning. All regencies and cities must design their cities well. Thus, every city and regency has a distinction. Do maximize the available potential of your respective region. Create a visionary masterplan.
Do not make all cities and regencies look similar or have similar branding. Many cities use Beriman, Berhiber, Berseri, and many other phrases that start with ber-. Brand your cities in accordance with their respective potentials and top qualities. For example, banana city. Why not? Fish city. Why not? Music city. Why not? Furniture city. Why not? Nevertheless, be consistent. If the brand is banana city, it means you must plant more bananas in the city and prepare the industry to process bananas there. Thus, people will notice the brand of the city.
Take a look at Davao in the Philippines. It is a banana city. There are only bananas all over the city. It has banana industry, banana dance, anything banana. Thus, if someone thinks about Davao, they think about bananas.
In High Point in North Carolina in the USA—there is a region called High Point. Every year, the city holds the biggest furniture exhibition in the world. Everyone in the furniture industry knows when we need to go to High Point. Every corner of the city is filled with furniture. Why doesn’t Jepara regency do the same? Brand your city and be consistent in realizing all potentials that the city has.
Banana… Lampung can be a banana city or a pineapple city. Fish, we have strength in fish. In Japan, there is a very well-known fish market called Tsukiji. Everyone knows it. Why is Ambon city in North Maluku province not branded as a fish city? We have many identities, so we need to prepare a masterplan. In Minneapolis in the USA, a city can live solely from golf courses. There are 37 golf courses there. People go there only to golf. Private jets fly there only for golf, nothing else. Why does no one dare to build something similar? The startup capital is cheap. You only need to find grass, to lay sod. We must think that way. All cities must not be the same.
Finally, on political stability and security as we move towards the 2024 elections. I order you to maintain a conducive situation so that our people do not fall victim to politics, to identity politics. And I also need to remind the TNI and Polri to not be involved with practical politics. Do map out potentials of disturbance. We must not panic when it actually happens. Whose fault is it? Whose fault is that? We must succeed this year. we are entering a political year and we must have sensitivity and frequently go on the ground so we can handle issues immediately. Do pay attention to this matter.
Furthermore, as regents and mayors are here, regarding religious freedom. Be careful. Christians, Catholics, Hindus, Confucians have the same rights to practice their religions. They have the same rights to religious freedom. Be careful. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by our constitution, guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution article 29 paragraph 2. Once again, it is guaranteed by the Constitution. You must understand this. Commanders of Military Districts, Chiefs of Resort Police, Chiefs of Regional Police, Commanders of Military Regions, District Prosecutor Generals, and High Prosecutor Generals must understand this.
The Constitution has more power than agreements. The Constitution must not be less powerful than agreements made during a Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB) meeting, for example. An agreement to forbid people from building a place of worship. Beware. Our Constitution guarantees that. Although there is a mayor regulation or regent instruction, we must be aware that our constitution guarantees religious freedom. Although there are only one, two, or three cities or regencies, we must still be careful because I noticed that this issue prevails. Sometimes I ask myself, is it that difficult for some people to practice their religion? It is sad.
That concludes my statement on this auspicious occasion and by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, this morning I officially open the 2023 National Coordination Meeting of Regional Leaders and Regional Leaders Communication Forum across Indonesia.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
And for your information, I will show you a glimpse of the Nusantara Capital. This is for the purpose of equal growth. It is constructed for equal growth, not for other purposes.