Elected members of Bank Indonesia Board of Governors Rosmaya Hadi (left) and Sugeng took a photo after their inauguration at The Supreme Court in Jakarta on Friday (06/01). (Beritasatu/David Gita Roza)

Bank Indonesia Seeks Transformation by 2024, Vows to Protect the State's Interests

BY :TABITA DIELA

AUGUST 17, 2017

[Updated at 4:30 p.m on Monday, Aug 21, 2018 to take out an ambiguous sentence in 20th paragraph]

Jakarta. Indonesia's 72nd Independence Day celebrations on Thursday (17/08) are a reminder for Bank Indonesia to stay on track with its transformation program to improve methods of inflation control, maintain the financial system's stability and keep up with the most recent developments in the payment system.

"We start by focusing on the performance of our human resources, their work and how they rise to a higher level," one of Bank Indonesia's newest members of the board of governors, Rosmaya Hadi, said on Monday.

Rosmaya was promoted to deputy governor in January, after 32 years of service at the central bank. Prior to her appointment, she was the head of Bank Indonesia's regional office in West Java.

The Jakarta Globe talked to Rosmaya about Bank Indonesia's path to become Southeast Asia's leading central bank and her strategy to support the new generation of central bankers.

Transformation

Bank Indonesia officially started the transformation program in Oct. 2014, based on its Architecture of Bank Indonesia Strategic Function (AFSBI) 2014-24 policy.

The AFSBI lays down the central bank's strategies, system and shared values to secure the quality of its policies, effective policy execution, cooperation with other agencies, motivation for its employees and transformation of its information system.

On top of the program, Bank Indonesia also upholds its responsibility to maintain the stability of the rupiah, keep the inflation between 3 percent and 5 percent this year, develop payment systems and expand the financial market.

Rosmaya said Bank Indonesia is already well-known for its unique accounting standard called the Financial Accounting Policies (KAKBI) and a policy mix that links monetary and financial stability, and implications thereof for policy-making processes.

"We are well-governed ... which means the business processes run very well and have guidelines," she said.

Even before the plan was launched, Bank Indonesia won the title of "The Best Systemic and Prudential Regulator" in 2012 from Asian Banker — a strategic intelligence provider in the financial services industry — amid other local and international awards.

"Everything is in place in our system, but we can make it stronger and reach a higher level," Rosmaya said.

Millennial Central Bankers

Rosmaya realizes that in a bid to maintain efficiency, the central bank has to keep up with the latest developments and technology. She said the bank's strategy to employ "digital natives" — those born or brought up in the age of digital technology — has been useful.

The organization, established in 1953, employs many young people in its workforce of 4,900 (as of July) at the headquarters in Jakarta and 46 regional offices. According to statistics provided by the central bank, the majority of Bank Indonesia's employees were born after 1980.

These so-called millennials constitute 46 percent of the bank's employees. They are followed by those born between 1965 and 1979 (42 percent).

One of the central bank's latest technological adoptions for its traditional tasks is a mobile phone application called Harga Pangan. The app, which can be accessed by anyone, shows the up-to-date prices of widely consumed food products such as chili peppers, rice, eggs, cooking oil and garlic at 164 traditional markets in 82 Indonesian cities.

"The current [generation] has the curiosity to know everything. But they tend to get bored easily, so this is their senior's job to remind them about discipline and ethics," Rosmaya said.

From the Heart to the System

Rosmaya burst into laughter saying she has three millennials at home, so she knows exactly how to engage with them and bring the best out of them. She believes it is important to set role models.

As one of the top executives at Bank Indonesia, Rosmaya has a similar approach to her subordinates.

"I really like to meet people, have conversations and figure out what's happening out there. While I'm happy to know that they are doing their job, it also shows [them] that the executives will be there for them and will listen to them," she said, adding that it is common to see her walking around the office building, talking to gardeners or people queuing in front of ATM machines.

"Policies should not only come from the leaders ... it is very interesting to interact with people, get to understand things," she said.

Protecting the State's Interests

Technology has been useful for the central bank and for Rosmaya herself. Being in charge of Bank Indonesia's day-to-day logistics means she needs to keep in touch with all 46 regional offices.

"Even the governor [Agus Martowardojo] joined our WhatsApp group," she said. "It is very effective for our monthly evaluation as well."

Rosmaya is aware that the rise in the number of social media platforms and messaging applications also poses risks. Anonymity offered by the internet makes people feel free to criticize the government, spread hoax or propaganda.

"Bank Indonesia has strategic values that cover everything. For example the public interest. It means we put the nation's interest above ourselves," she said.

Rosmaya said there has been no instance of a Bank Indonesia employee posting anti-government content or declaring his or her association with a banned organization.

She pointed out that prior to joining Bank Indonesia, a prospective employee is made aware of its code of conduct and ethics.

An employee has to guard the bank's reputation, meaning that no racial slur, insult or propaganda is allowed as it may damage the employer's image.

Despite Bank Indonesia's independence from the government, nurturing patriotism comes naturally.

"At the beginning, we learn [Bank Indonesia's strategic values — trust, integrity, professionalism, excellence, public interest, coordination, teamwork] but then it's internalized in each of us ... Our oath as Bank Indonesia employees means we will put the state's interests above our own."

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