Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 2023 National Working Meeting of the Indonesian Provincial Government Association (APPSI), Novotel Hotel’s Ballroom, Balikpapan city, East Kalimantan Province, February 23, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May peace be upon us all,
Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet,
Distinguished Chairperson and all ranks of the Association of Indonesian Provincial Governments (APPSI),
Distinguished Governors, Deputy Governors, Regional Secretaries all over Indonesia,
as well as members of the East Kalimantan Regional Leadership Communication Forum,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me remind you that the public activity restrictions (PPKM) policy was lifted in the end of 2022. As Governor of East Kalimantan said that the ones who wear a face mask may be considered sick. He was right considering that the PPKM policy was lifted. And wearing a face mask for outdoor activities is no longer mandatory, while wearing a face mask for indoor activities is still allowed for health purposes.
After the lifting of the PPKM policy, we hope that in 2023, public consumption, public spending can increase and can lead to a higher economic growth. It is the responsibility of the Governors to maintain and increase household consumption. We are aware that in 2022, public and household consumption were at 4.93 [percent] and we hope that in 2024 the figure will increase to 5.4 percent. If this happens, our economic growth will be higher as well. To that end, things related spending, public spending should not be held.
Let me give you an example. Arts and sports activities are public spending. In 2022, public funds were not spent and kept in banks. We can check the percentage of the increase in interest of public savings. In 2022, the figure reached Rp690 trillion, meaning that public spending held, people did not want to spend their money for shopping, eating out, visiting markets, malls, stores. They thought that it would be better to save their money at banks. It should not happen. We must encourage our people to spend their money to boost our economic growth.
In addition to arts and sports activities, I estimate that in 2023 there will be approximately 3,000 sports and art events. It is good for our economy. I have talked to the National Police Chief, while on this occasion, I also order Governors, deputy governors, and regional secretaries to ease the permitting process. Don’t hinder anyone because it affects public spending. Let the Rp690 trillion stay in the bank. It is okay to watch concerts, football matches. Spend it at vendors, street vendors, or for buying clothes, or watching sports events.
After meeting with several event organizers, the problem is still found on the permitting process. The permission was issued two, three days prior the events. I have ordered the National Police Chief that the permission [of events] be issued one month prior to the events. It would also be better that we could issue [the permit] two months prior to the events so that the event organizer can properly promote the events. Two days ago, we agreed on that. I have also ordered regional governments who have the authority to issue the permit to follow suit.
On tourism sector. We must open tourist destinations in regions . Don’t hinder them. It also affects public spending, household consumption, public consumption. We have to be aware of it. Don’t let the Rp690 trillion stay in the bank. It is not good for our economy. Renovate and promote it. It doesn’t matter if the location is in rural areas. The point is we have to promote them so that people come to those places to spend their money and also encourage MSMEs to sell their products there. Do encourage the people spend their money as much as possible considering that higher economic growth is what we need.
Second, on downstreaming in regions. I have previously said about mining, mineral, coal downstreaming. Downstreaming must be carried out in all sectors. Downstreaming can be carried out in fisheries, plantation sectors. Don’t you think that downstreaming can only be carried out in nickel, mining sectors. Fisheries, agriculture, and plantation sectors also have great potential and every region has its own potential.
Let me give you an example. Coconut in Indonesia costs Rp10,000 – Rp15,000 per piece. In Thailand, coconut that has been packaged into “coco thumb” that costs Rp45,000 – Rp50,000/piece. The price is three time higher because the packaging made is eye-catching. Not only can we do it, but also, we can do it better. Regions have the potentials. Our people can do it. We have to encourage it.
Once again, the added value is three time higher. Another example is fish. If only sell fish, we can only sell salted fish. There is no added value. If we can sell fish meal, we can sell it tow, three time higher. Global demand for fish meal is huge. To that end, fishermen, MSMEs, cooperatives, small industries must be encouraged to carry out downstreaming. Other products in the regions must also be a concern.
Third, on food. We don’t face food problem, but other countries do, especially related wheat price. Food crisis, hunger have spread in countries in Africa. In Indonesia, it is seen normal, but we have to be aware of. It must be maintained and monitored. Rice production must be monitored.
How much is the production? Is it adequate in regions? If there are regions that don’t have adequate supply, they must collaborate [with other regions]. Communication among governors is vital. For example, if East Java province has an abundant supply, it must be checked how many surpluses it has? The surplus can be sent to regions that have supply shortages. Don’t let the supply run out. Maintain the supply, maintain the price.
Every time I visit regions, I also inspect one or two markets so that I can monitor to ensure that supply is adequate. I also checked whether the price is stable, considering that it reflects inflation. Our inflation last month that reached 50 percent was caused by the rice price hike. Please be aware of it. Don’t be complacent considering inflation in other countries is worse. Please be cautious.
Once again, we have to share the same vision related food. Don’t be complacent. Importing rice is difficult nowadays because other countries keep their supply. It was hard to find 500 tons of rice from countries that have abundant supply considering they also keep their own supply. They store their supply ahead of El Nino. This is what we have to understand and all must be aware of it.
Fourth, on local product spending. It must be increased this year. We have the opportunity that the realization [of State Budget] can reach Rp1,100 trillion while in 2022 the realization reached Rp762 trillion. There is still an opportunity to increase [the realization] to support the SMEs so that they can level up. It must be encouraged so that regencies/cities can spend the Regional Budget on local products.
Fifth, on investment climate. The vital key of all countries’ economic growth is how investment can enter a country. All countries are competing for investment. No country is not competing for it. Thus, please double check on the ease of investment. Please double check on it. [Business] permitting process in our country still takes time, about 260 days. Indeed, it takes time. In this digital era, it must be done in hours, not months. It must be done in few days, but it is better to be done in hours. Digitalization in permitting process in all provinces, regencies, and cities must be carried out.
I also would like to remind all regents, mayors that the number of stunting must be curbed. The figure must be checked and monitored. The decrease in figure must be done every year.
Last but not least, Chairperson of the APPSI asked me about issue on non-permanent state apparatus. The number in several provinces, regencies, cities are still huge. Earlier in the morning, I called Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reforms. He said that the issue is still being discussed. However, I order him to find the best solution considering the number is still huge and it must be our common concern. When I was mayor [of Surakarta], [the recruitment of non-permanent state apparatus] was stopped. But, I do not know why does it still run. The best solution is still being discussed. After the decision is made, please observe it.
That concludes my speech on this auspicious occasion.
By saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I hereby inaugurate the 2023 National Working Meeting of the Indonesian Provincial Government Association.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.