Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 2nd National Working Meeting of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), at the Party School of PDIP’s Central Leadership Council, DKI Jakarta Province, June 21, 2022
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Greetings of Virtue.
Distinguished Fifth President of the Republic of Indonesia and Chairperson of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) Ibu Prof. Dr. Hajjah Megawati Soekarnoputri,
Distinguished Chairperson of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (DPR RI) Ibu Puan Maharani,
Distinguished Secretary General as well as all Central, Regional, and Local Executive Boards of PDIP in attendance, the Chairperson, the Secretary, and the Treasurer of the Party,
Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet, Chief of the State Intelligence Agency, along with all Governors, Regents, Mayors, and Regional Leaders in attendance,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Guests.
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude. I have never had a birthday celebrated like this in my life. And also, we know that today is Bung Karno’s birthday as well, June 21. Thank you, Bu Mega, for the tumpeng (the cone-shaped rice dish) cutting ceremony we just held.
Bu Mega was right. Today when I met her this morning, I found a very beautiful and charismatic aura around her. I meant it from the bottom of my heart. The aura was real even though she is 57 years old. Her aura of beauty will never fade. Please make some noise.
Speaking of villages, as this year’s 2nd National Working Meeting theme adopted, I recall the teaching of Bung Karno about gotong royong (mutual cooperation). Gotong royong is an effort, a charity, and a work. It is a work to produce a great work or a great achievement. It does not mean that everyone does the same thing. However, Bung Karno said that gotong royong means working together. Gotong royong is a struggle to help each other, to build a common strength, or holopis kuntul baris (working together to tackle big things).
It is the same in nation-building. We as a great nation must promote an attitude of mutual cooperation. Each of us must play a role according to our respective expertise. Each of us must play a role according to our strengths and work together, collaborate, create synergy with each other to once again produce a great work.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are all aware that the world is replete with uncertainty these days. If we ever know really well the problems that occur, the world is facing an extremely difficult situation. We have been experiencing several crises, but the crises come and go over and over again. During the recovery phase of crises caused by the pandemic, wars broke out, leading to other crises.
As Ibu Mega said earlier, we experienced food crisis, faced energy crisis, and then financial crisis. The more we know, the scarier it becomes. I was horrified when I heard the figures reported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations.
Yesterday, I was briefed that 60 countries will have their economies collapse, while 42 countries are confirmed to experience economic crises. Who will assist 42 countries at once? International institutions may provide assistance when only one, two, or three countries are affected. But there are 42 and even 60 countries. We have no idea how to help them. Thus, being on guard, alert, and cautious is all we really need.
Ibu Mega has reminded us all about that. Be aware of the issues. We are not in a normal situation. It is terrible once we experienced financial crisis, food crisis, and energy crisis. I think we know that one, two, or three countries have experienced the crises. They do not have foreign exchange reserves. They cannot buy fuel, and they cannot buy food either since the food and energy are all imported. They are also trapped in an extreme debt because the debt ratio is way too high. So again, I was horrified to see the figures.
And now, for example, the price of gasoline. The price of Pertalite still stands at Rp7,650, and Pertamax stands at Rp12,500. Be careful. This is not the actual price. This is the price we subsidize. We provided a huge fuel subsidy. Let me point out a comparison. The price of fuel in Indonesia; Pertalite stands at Rp7,650, Pertamax stands at Rp12,500 to Rp13,000.
Let’s just look at our neighboring country Singapore, where the gasoline price has reached Rp31,000, Germany’s gasoline price has also reached Rp31,000, while Thailand’s gasoline price reached Rp20,000. We still stand at Rp7,650. However, we must remember this. Our fuel subsidy is huge. The budget can be used to build a capital because the figure has reached Rp502 trillion. This is all we need to know.
How long can we survive with such huge subsidies? If we do not understand the figures, we have no idea how serious the problem is today. Building the capital costs Rp466 trillion. We spend it on subsidies. It is impossible that we do not provide fuel subsidies. It might be a bustle for us too. We also consider the socio-political aspects. People should also be told about thr complex global conditions.
When we stopped exporting coal in January, I took five phone calls from presidents/prime ministers telling me, “President Jokowi, please send us coal immediately, as soon as possible. Otherwise, we might experience power outages. Our industries will collapse.” Therefore, we know where our strength lies.
When we stopped exporting cooking oil and coal to prioritize domestic needs first, I took two phone calls from presidents and prime ministers saying, “Sir, if you do not send us the material in two days, there will be social-political unrest in my country. Please send it.” I have checked that there was a stock of about three million tons and the demand was 200 thousand tons. So we sent them only 120 thousand tons.
Therefore, we know where our position and strength lie. It is starting to show. Our coal, crude palm oil (CPO), and nickel have great strength. However, we cannot keep exporting them in the forms of raw materials. That should stop. We must start with the courage to stop exporting raw materials and make finished goods. Industrialization is where the downstreaming is. That is actually where our great strength lies.
We can increase the added value for the country through job opportunities. If we send raw materials, other countries will receive added value, job opportunities, and taxes. If the industry is here, we can receive the income tax (PPh), including corporate income tax, employee income tax, and individual income tax. We can receive corporate income tax, export duties, and exit tax. We can make a lot of money.
That is what I often calculate and so do international institutions. If we can open the entrance gate to income per capita of more than US$11 thousand, we hope we can make it by 2030, meaning that we have opened the gate. The way I see it, the key is infrastructure. The foundation is human resource development. That is the hardest part. Then, regarding the downstreaming, stop exporting raw materials to other countries. We turn them into finished or semi-finished goods domestically. We have to move forward because we now have that capability. We have stopped exporting nickel. This year, we will stop exporting bauxite. We will process raw materials domestically.
We estimate that in 2045, if there is consistency in leadership with the the courage to stop exporting raw materials until that year, insya Allah, we will improve our income per capita by 21 thousand to 27 thousand. We are already in a position of a developed country. But the challenges remains dauting, especially when it comes to human resources development.
Again, without gotong royong, we would find it difficult to face global competition. The competition currently occurs in almost all sectors from upstream to downstream, not only competing in the economic or business sector, but also in human resources, as well as science and technology, including competition in facing food and global energy crisis.
To that end, we must join hands to build self-reliance in the food sector, food sovereignty, food security. These matters must be our focus going forward. Each region must have its food specialty that is suitable to the characteristics of its land and the conditions of its people as well as the diatary habit. Do not force them to give up their strength because each region is different.
Take Papua island, for instance. The land is suitable for growing sago. It is also the staple food for people in the area. Do not force them to eat rice, so we force them to plant rice seedlings as well. We should not force them to give up their strength, their characteristics. Sago is actually the healthiest food because it is gluten-free. No gluten, no sugar contained. The commodity will be in great demand from other countries. We often forget such things, including porang. Why are these commodities in great demand? Because they are considered low in sugar and healthier.
Moreover, the land in East Nusa Tenggara is good for planting sorghum and corn. Once again, do not force them to plant rice and urge them to start eating rice. We have visited Waingapu city in East Nusa Tenggara. We attempted to plant corn and sorghum. Guess what did we see? Without a lot of water, sorghum in East Nusa Tenggara grows very fertile and green. It turns out that previously East Nusa Tenggara’s people used to plant sorghum before shifting to rice.
This is where the error lies. We will carry out large-scale planting of sorghum. The sorghum cultivation has been piloted on a 40-hectare of land in Waingapu city. We should not force East Nusa Tenggara province to give up their strength and what’s more, sorghum can be an alternative for wheat as its price is soaring by 30 percent due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The country’s wheat imports currently reach 11 million tons. That is huge. This one deserves our concerns.
I extend appreciation to Ibu Mega because the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) is now assigned to handle research on food-related matters. It is the right direction. We must move forward.
We must also keep in mind that the budget disbursed to villages is not a pittance. The Village Fund that we have disbursed for 2022 is at Rp468 trillion, which is very large. Never before in the history that we poured money of up to Rp468 trillion for villages. And I myself checked and saw the money became finished goods on the ground, including infrastructure for small roads for production. This is great. This step must be continued in the next leadership. This village road, we have built 227 thousand km of village roads from the Village Fund.
Many people said, “Two hundred and twenty-seven thousand kilometers is a very long road, Sir. Is that even real? That is ridiculous.” Let me explain, our villages are 75 thousand in total, approximately 74,800 villages. If we only build 227 thousand kilometer roads, meaning that one village is only 3 kilometer. People just do not think it through saying, “Wow, it is really a long road. It is impossible.”
How is it not possible? One village only has 3 kilometers long. A total of 4500 reservoirs, the small ones, but the benefits are immediately felt by the people. The development use the village fund that has been disbursed earlier in the amount of Rp468 trillion.
If each region proceeds according to its strength and characteristics, we can build great strength in the food sector. Production will be abundant and food diversification can be maintained. This is the great strength of our nation and the people should be continually invited to produce [commodities]. Either PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) or the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) can arrange. Nevertheless, the country must take the production, whether it is made into stock for the long term or we can start exporting, helping other countries once we are sufficient.
The concept of gotong royong is also highly relevant for modern organizations. Each work unit has its own functions and competencies, but they work together to achieve the goals that have been set. That is gotong royong. I am convinced the same way goes to political party organizations as well. Each cadre has its own gifts. There must be someone who is good working on the ground, while others are great at formulating strategies. Some of them are strong in the legislature, while others are strong in the executive. Each of them serves according to their respective advantages, synergizing with each other for the same target. That is Indonesia’s future strategy in winning the global competition. The strategy is to put forward gotong royong.
Good luck on the 2nd National Working Meeting 2021/2022. I hope we can achieve success and victory we aspire.
And, by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I hereby open the 2nd PDIP National Working Meeting of 2021/2022 this afternoon.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Om santi santi santi om,