Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 2021 Kompas100 CEO Forum, Thursday 21 January 2021, from the State Palace, Jakarta
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Peace and prosperity be upon us,
Greetings of Virtue.
Honorable Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Head of Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Ministers, and Vice Ministers;
Honorable CEO of Kompas Gramedia, Mr. Lilik Oetama;
Honorable CEOs from various industries, both the Kompas100 members and non-members;
Honorable chairpersons of associations and economists;
These are hard and difficult times. All countries also find it difficult to handle COVID-19 pandemic. All 215 countries in the world experience the same thing as we do. We also need to recover our economic which was not easy. These two things must go hand in hand, we must know when to move forward and when to put the brakes. It is so easy to say but it is very difficult to put into practice. In the future, we have to face and achieve these challenges and opportunities.
I want to speak on the short term, medium term and long term. What will we do? In the short term, we will continue to carry out social assistance programs and other incentives for people affected by COVID-19 pandemic, including micro, small, and medium entreprises. We will provide them incentives such as tax incentives and emergency capital assistance. The Government also provides Pre-employment Card to those suffered from layoffs or still unemployed. All programs are aimed at maintaining people’s purchasing power, despite the fact the biggest room to increase demand is in the middle class, which until now has not been moved to raise the demand.
Second, and this is important in the short term, is the importance of adhering to health protocols. You (the CEO) need to tell your employees on the importance of staying disciplined in adhering to health protocols. Governors, regents, mayors, heads of sub-districts, villages, and neighboring units must also do the same. Do wear mask, maintain safe distance, and frequently wash hands.
The Central Government and regional governments will support the effort by optimizing testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19 cases, and the process will continue to be improved.
Next, regarding the vaccination is how we speed up vaccination in the shortest possible time. We have a lot of resources; 30 thousand vaccinators, around 10 thousand community health centers (Puskesmas), and more than 3,000 hospitals.
Let’s say we have 30,000 vaccinators and one person can vaccinate 30 citizens. It means, in one day, the vaccinated citizens will almost reach one million. This figure is huge. This is our strength. Other countries don’t have community health centers. For years, our community health centers have been carrying out immunization program for children. Therefore, I continue to encourage and urge vaccine readiness not to be too late. Based on the said number, I once said the national vaccination could have been completed in less than a year.
Then someone asks me how to redouble the speed? Many of the companies and entrepreneurs asked me, “Can we do the vaccine independently, Sir?” We will determine it as soon as possible since we really need to accelerate the vaccination; we need (people get vaccinated) as many as possible, especially if the costs are borne by the companies themselves, why not. But once again, we have to manage this issue as good as possible. Maybe it can be done if the vaccine brands and the vaccination places are different.
But what makes us even more optimistic is the Consumer Confidence Index, which has risen to 92. That’s the last number I saw. Then the Purchasing Manager Index has also reached 51.3 which are almost normal before the pandemic.
Furthermore, commodity prices, such as coal, CPO, and rubber, are currently experiencing an increase. This will also help us in economic recovery. In the medium term, this new normal will affect the entire pattern of people’s lives and future economic structures.
The health protocol will change everything, so that matters related to the economy will also have a new protocol. Whether it’s eating in a restaurant, boarding a plane, or taking public transportation, there must be a new protocol. Likewise, when working in factories or malls, there will be also a new protocol to protect our health. These are the changes that occur after COVID-19.
If someone asks, what industry will survive this COVID-19? I believe we need to continuously develop: First, food. Second, pharmacy and hospitals. Third, financial technology and education.
I just want to put an emphasis on our imported food commodities. We must solve matters related to import substitution products immediately. Million (tons) of sugar are still imported even though we have land and resources. For soybeans, we also have large land areas. Million tons of maize imports still need to be resolved. We didn’t use to importing garlic since we had the farms in NTB, Wonosobo, and Temanggung but now we didn’t because we lost the competition. We must resolve this problem.
Therefore, I invited CEOs to design a form of collaboration to connect with the farmers, to resolve the commodities imports problem.
As for pharmaceutical sectors, I also noted that we still import as much as 80-85% of the need for equipment and medicines. Why can’t we provide them by ourselves?
On technology, I think we have a great opportunity in the electric vehicle (EV) industry due to the country’s large nickel resources. I think we have to seek this kind of opportunities and be encouraged so that we can immediately implement them and make a big contribution to the country.
In the long term, I see that we have strength in green products and in the green economy, which I think now all regional countries are starting to see that direction. In Europe, they have enacted restrictive laws, and I see the green product will develop in the future in form of low carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive that will lead to social equality, reducing environmental risks, efficient resources.
We have a great opportunity to enter into the green products and economy in terms of production, distribution and consumption. Since the public awareness on environmental sustainability is increased, it will be also affect the global economy and businesses, including our country’s economy.
That is all for the green economy and green product. Second, I think inevitably we will go to digitization, digital economy. All industries definitely will enter digitalization. The Government, education, even the health sector must all enter into digitalization so that they are more efficient, competitive. We, then, can compete with other countries.
All parties, the President said, must be able to answer these challenges and opportunities. We can make the year 2021 as a momentum for all to rise up and get through the crisis well, so we can be stronger to face the challenges. With those transformations, our country can be a new economic power, a stronger nation, and becoming an advanced nation.
This concludes my remarks. And by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I declare the 2021 Kompas100 CEO Forum open.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Om Santi Santi Santi Om,