Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia during the Opening of the 2021 People’s Economic Congress of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), at the Sultan Hotel and Residence, Special Capital Region of Jakarta, 10 December 2021

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 10 Desember 2021
Category: Remarks @en
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Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,


Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Alhamdulillahirabbil ‘alamin, washalatu wasalamu ‘ala asrafil ambiya’i wal mursalin, sayyidina wa habibina wa syafiina wa maulana Muhammadin, wa ‘ala alihi wasahbihi ajma’in. Amma ba’du.

Distinguished Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia,

Distinguished Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Central Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and all the Leaders and members of the MUI Board of Directors,

Distinguished Leaders and Board of Directors of Sharia Banks, Leaders of Community Organizations at national level, Associations and Sharia Financial institutions in attendance,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have been prepared speech materials this much, but after I heard what Dr. Buya Anwar Abbas conveyed, I still did not have the materials yet. I will respond to matters he conveyed. I think it would be better to do so in this great forum.

First, related to land and land tenure. What Buya said is true, but I am not the one who distributes the land. Well, I have to answer. We are currently in the process of distributing land under the agrarian reform program that has reached 4.3 million hectares of land, out of the target of 12 million.

And now we have a land bank. We will check land-cultivation rights (HGU) and right-to-build licenses (HGB) that have been ignored. Insya Allah, we will start to revoke the permits this month or next month since there are so many of them. The land concessions have been granted for more than 20 years, more than 30 years; yet we do nothing about it so we cannot distribute lands to others.

However, I once offered this during a meeting with Islam Union (Persis) in Bandung. There was someone who asked about the issue and I gave him the same answer. If anyone of you need a large amount of land, please let me know. I will look for and prepare it. How much? Ten thousand hectares? Not in square meters. Fifty thousand hectares? But there should be a calculation in the proposal that is also feasible, meaning that there should be a clear feasibility study. What will the object [the land] be used for? I will strive to distribute it, Insya Allah because I have access to the lands and I have not distributed them to anyone.

If anyone of you need a land, please come to me accompanied by Buya Anwar Abbas. Do you think I did not think about it? The Gini ratio of land stood at 0.41 percent in the beginning of my administration. Gaps like that come to my mind. Do npt think I did not think about it. I do because I know how it feels like to be an underprivileged person. I do. And it is nice to be the rich. It is.

Please, propose. But do not say “Sir, I want a piece land in Kalimantan.” Just do not. I am the one who decides “You need 10 thousand hectares, then I provide a land in Sumatra,”. “Oh, 50 hectares of land, I have one in Kalimantan,”. With a feasibility and clear calculation, do not take or buy different lands. Why should I give concessions then? This has happened dozens of times.

There will be a number of land banks in the future. There will be someone in charge and we will revoke a lot of land-use permits. It has been more than 20 years, more than 30 years. Submit them to land banks, both HGU and HGB, so that all lands we owned will be truly productive.

Second, related to micro and ultra-micro businesses. There are many people who do not know it yet, but later in January-February, I may invite 5 or 10 people from the MUI led by Mr. Buya Anwar Abbas to see the Mekaar program of PT Permodalan Nasional Madani (PNM). In 2015, we could only collect 500 thousand micro businesses, ultra-micro businesses with loans amounting to Rp3-5 million, Rp1 million, Rp2 million, Rp3 million, up to Rp5 million. To date, the program has 9.8 million customers.

The Grameen Bank serves a total of 6.5 million borrowers and won the Nobel, while we have 9.8 (million), but we did not receive the Nobel. I will show you how the PNM’s Mekaar works. The small businesses will be grouped to cooperate. If any one cannot complete their loan payment, the others will assist. This system has developed. Insya Allah, we will reach our target of 20 million by 2024. However, it is a long way to go since we have 64 million small, micro, and ultra-micro businesses.

Our informal economy needs support. I am saddened by our bank loan portion as well. MSME businesses are only given 20 percent, the rest are given to middle ones, big ones. We cannot even force it, because “Sir, we work according to calculations and feasibility study, all of which are calculated. You cannot push us”.

No, I am not asking for much. I am asking for a minimum of 30 percent, but higher than that of 20 percent. This is still a tug-of-war, but we cannot force our bank. “Sir, we are working with high prudence. You cannot force us with targets like that. State-owned lender PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) may be able to give more than 80 percent for small, micro, and ultra-micro businesses, but they cannot give it to others since they only provide loans for medium and large businesses.” These are the difficulties we have.

However, insya Allah, soon Bank Syariah Indonesia (BSI) will serve small, medium, and large businesses as they are now among the top eight banks with stronger capital. And we hope matters related to halal industry, halal tourism, and halal products that has enormous quantity, can be served by big banks. If in the past, banks only served small businesses, now the BSI can serve both small and large businesses.

I am also glad that I have responded to the two things mentioned earlier. I am heartened to see our sharia economic position, which was ranked 9th in 2014 and risen to the world’s top 4 in 2020-2021, insya Allah, will move up to 2nd or 1st within 3-4 years if we experience a significant growth. The market will emerge to all countries very quickly. I think this is the development of our sharia economy in the last 6-7 years.

We hope that as the country with the largest Muslim population in the world at 87 percent or 207 million people, we can be the center of sharia economy in 2024. We will strive for that, including halal industry, sharia finance, sharia social finance, and sharia entrepreneurship. We will push forward all sectors as the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. I keep reiterating this matter everywhere so that other countries know that Indonesia is a country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

For the record, we have officially assumed the Presidency of the G20 since 1 December 2021. We chair the meeting that consists of developed countries with the world’s top 20 gross domestic product (GDP). We are now in the 16th place as previously conveyed by Buya, insyaAllah, McKinsey, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predict that we will enter the world’s top 4 in 2040-2045. However, the obstacles are not small. The challenges will not be easy either. The conditions are the way for us to get there so that our GDP will reach US$23,000-27,000 income per capita  in 2040-2045. It is a very large number, of course. But, it takes all of our hard work.

That concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion.

And by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I hereby officially declare the 2nd People’s Economic Congress of Indonesian Ulema Council open.

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

(RIF/EP)

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