IMF Confirms Indonesia Has No Debt to Fund, Following Debate Between SBY, Officials

A teller at BNI counts US dollar notes in Jakarta on April 15, 2015. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

By : Dion Bisara | on 5:10 PM April 29, 2015
Category : Business, Economy, Featured

Jakarta. International Monetary Funds confirmed on Wednesday that Indonesia has no outstanding debt with the fund, putting an end to a public debate between former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and government officials.

“There have been a number of recent statements about Indonesia’s obligations to the IMF. Indonesia currently has no outstanding loans from the IMF,” Benedict Bingham, an IMF adviser, said in a statement made available by Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank.

“The debt reported in Bank Indonesia’s external debt statistics relates to Indonesia’s SDR allocation,” Bingham said, referring to special drawing rights that are allocated to all members to boost their foreign reserves.

Indonesia’s current SDR allocation is SDR 1.98 billion, which is equivalent to $2.8 billion. It was allocated in 2009 to help strengthen the county’s reserves amid the global financial crisis.

“Under standard accounting rules, this SDR allocation is treated as a foreign liability of Bank Indonesia, while the corresponding holdings of SDRs are treated as a foreign asset of Bank Indonesia. So, when the SDRs are allocated there is no change in a member’s net debt to the IMF,” Bingham said.

On Tuesday Yudhoyono criticized President Joko Widodo for implying that Indonesia still has debt outstanding to the Fund in his speech at the Asian-African Conference last week. Yudhoyono said Indonesia has paid off in 2006 all of its $9.1 billion obligation that the country took during the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said the Yudhoyono administration borrowed in 2009 from the Fund SDR 1.98 billion — which was valued at $3.09 billion at the time — and it was recorded as a liability in the central bank’s balance sheet. Andi didn’t make the distinction that that was an allocation, instead of a borrowing, which automatically is subject to carrying interest rates.

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