Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Inauguration of the 12th Congress of the Indonesian Buddhist Students Association at Mercure Convention Center, Special Capital Region of Jakarta, March 28, 2024

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 28 Maret 2024
Category: Remarks @en
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Good afternoon,

Namo Buddhaya.

Honorable Bhikkhu Sangha (monks of the Buddhist monastic order),

Distinguished Ministers, Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI),

Chief of the Indonesian National Police, and Acting Governor of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta,

Distinguished Chairperson of the Indonesian Buddhist Students Association (Hikmahbudhi) Adinda Wiryawan and all members of the executive board and seniors of the Hikmahbudhi,

Distinguished members of the Hikmahbudhi across Indonesia,

Distinguished members of Cipayung Plus in attendance,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Adinda Wiryawan praised me a lot earlier.  I am still wondering what he implied.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have reiterated that our country holds great potential to transform into a developed country when we reach the peak of our demographic bonus in 2045. It is our opportunity—when sixty-eight percent of the Indonesian population is in their productive age. This is a rare opportunity. A country usually gets only one chance in its civilization to become a developed country.

I often use countries in Latin America in the 50s, 60s, and 70s as an example of developing countries that did not seize the opportunity they had, resulting in they remaining developing countries until today. In fact, some have regressed to become impoverished countries once again.

Another country that I often use as an example is South Africa. In 2015, sixty-three  percent of the country’s population was in their productive age, meaning that their demographic bonus was in 2015. What happened? Twenty-five percent of its population was unemployed in 2015. In 2021, the unemployment rate rose to thirty-three percent.

A shining example is South Korea. In 1987s, its per capita income was around US$3,500, and in 1995s, it transformed into a high-income country with [per capita income of] US$11,800, making it a developed country. What was the driving force? Successful human resources quality improvement through education and training.

That is what we aspire – to be a developed country. We noticed those that failed and succeeded; why they failed, why they succeeded. We hope that the Golden Indonesia can truly materialize in 2045. We have the opportunity, but the challenges are not easy. However, based on the projections of the World Bank, the IMF, OECD, and McKinsey, and our own projection, we can make it if we are consistent, if we have political stability, if we make no program changes, and if we make no agenda changes. We can already see the momentum of transformation.

If we do something, it may be challenged by other countries, such as downstreaming, as Adinda Wiryawan previously stated. Downstreaming creates multiple added values, but it is opposed by the European Union [and it] filed a lawsuit to the WTO. And I am sorry that we lost. We filed an appeal and dealt with it. I am certain that we may lose again, but the industry is ready. It is okay if we have to reduce our speed. The nickel industry is ready. The EV battery industry is ready. The electric vehicle industry is ready. Building industries, indeed, takes time. Building the manufacturing industry takes time. We must not back down. We must build the industry immediately.

In 2014, we only exported raw materials with the value of only US$2.1 billion or Rp30 trillion. Now we have built the nickel industry. The export in 2022 was worth US$33 billion, meaning almost Rp500 trillion. Do you see how much the added value multiplied? Do you see the increase in taxes we receive, non-tax state revenue we receive, export duties we receive, and royalties we receive for state revenue?

Freeport, for example. Nickel, copper, now Freeport. Previously, we only had nine percent of its shares. Afterwards, we took over with negotiation and now we are the majority [shareholder] with 51 percent [of shares], meaning that Freeport is not owned by the USA anymore. It is Indonesia’s now, our country’s. Do not think that Freeport is the USA’s. It is Indonesia’s.

Soon, we will have more shares at sixty-one percent. Now, seventy percent of Freeport’s income goes to the state treasury, seventy percent. Once we have sixty-one percent [of shares], eigthty percent [of its income] will go to the state treasury.

These are the processes. To achieve such goals, we must face big challenges that call for audacity and bravery. Sometimes… sometimes I think that when we take over things like this, no one supports us. Everyone is silent, and some even bully us. However, I am used to being insulted, slandered, vilified, and mocked so I keep going. If I believe that I am right, I will carry on. If we are consistent with downstreaming and digitalization, then green economy… if we are consistent to move them towards, I am sure that achieving the Golden Indonesia in 2045 will not be tough.

We are aware that the challenges ahead are increasingly difficult. Technologies are becoming more disruptive. We are aware that every day, there is something new—big data analytics, AI, machine learning, stem cells, biotechnology, robotics. New discoveries continue to emerge. We have not yet finished learning one; yet another has emerged.

Furthermore, the challenges we face—rivalry and geopolitics—are hard to predict, hard to calculate. We are aware that wars continue to rage in Ukraine, Gaza, and Yemen. Global protection policies used to be open and promote globalization, but now they are quite the reverse All countries are enforcing protectionism, be it through embargoes, restrictive sanctions, or the like. If we calculate it from 2014 to 2023, several countries implemented protectionism and fiscal policy for the war period.

We are also aware that the challenge of climate change has become more aggravating. Likewise, it is also hard to predict and calculate. We are aware that in the past three years, we could manage rice supplies, but once El Nino hit, long droughts occurred, and extremely pouring rain fell, our agriculture productivity dropped.

Therefore, we like it or not, because it deals with people’s survival, we must import rice. Unfortunately, importing rice is not as easy as it used to be five or ten years ago because all countries with rice supplies want to save them for themselves. They refuse to sell because they also want to save their own people.

We are aware that nineteen countries have stopped and reduced rice exports, while five countries have put the brakes on exports. As a repercussion, countries with a huge population are facing difficulty finding food for their own people. We are also aware that crises are likely to arise everywhere, almost in every country. Developed countries and major countries are now facing those challenges.

For example, Germany’s probability of entering a recession is 72 percent. Previously, we were aware that Japan and England have slipped into recession. Sometimes we are unaware of those challenges because we have been in a normal situation. The European Union’s probability of entering a recession is sixty percent. As for Indonesia, thank God, we ought to be grateful that the probability is 1.5 percent.

I entertain high hopes in the young generation, in Indonesia Buddhist university students, in university students’ associations with national orientation to continue maintaining unity, upholding Pancasila, and safeguarding the Unitary State of Indonesia. Solidarity is key to turning our nation into a developed nation.

That concludes my statement on this auspicious occasion.

By the grace of the Most Merciful God, this afternoon I hereby officially open the 12th Congress of the Indonesian Buddhist Student Association.

I thank you. 

Sadu, sadu, sadu.

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