Jakarta. The Ministry of Finance established two teams on Tuesday (20/12) that will oversee reforms of Indonesia's tax and customs and excise institutions, as part of efforts to restore public trust and improve revenue collection.
The teams, which include business leaders, academics and representatives of international organizations, will exist until 2020 and report directly to the finance minister to help the government find ways to improve its tax ratio to 15 percent tax from 11 percent currently.
Among the teams' responsibilities are an evaluation of a tax law revision currently being drafted by the Finance Ministry, and performance assessments of mid-ranking officials.
"We gathered many stakeholders [...] such as the KPK [Corruption Eradication Committee], business sector, experts, tax officers and officers from the customs and excise office. We also invited representatives of international organizations to help us improve the reform design so we can accelerate the reform process," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told reporters.
KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif is a member of the steering committee, along with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Chief Economic Minister Darmin Nasution and Deputy Finance Minister Mardiasmo.
Romli Atmasasmita, a criminal law professor from Padjajaran University, and tax experts Yustinus Prastowo and Darussalam are advisers for tax-related matters, while former finance minister Muhamad Chatib Basri and senior businessman Sofjan Wanandi will advise on matters related to customs and excise.
Observer teams consist of business lobbies and representatives of the media and international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the chambers of commerce of the European Union and the United States.
The reforms will be carried out by an executive team led by Customs and Excise director general Heru Pambudi.
Suryo Utomo, an expert on tax compliance at the Finance Ministry, will lead the tax reform task force, with tax chief Ken Dwijugiasteadi being move to a less influential role on the steering committee board.
Sri Mulyani, who also initiated bureaucratic reforms in the Finance Ministry in 2008, has vowed to intensify an overhaul of the tax office after a senior official was caught red-handedly accepting a bribe from an executive of Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group International last month.
Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani, who is an observer on the tax reform team, said the involvement of the business sector in the teams opens more channels for discussion with the government.
"If any decision is taken by the government and the House of Representatives without involving the business sector, policies will become ineffective," he said.