President Joko Widodo addresses cabinet ministers and business leaders at the Bogor presidential palace south of Jakarta on Monday. (Antara Photo/Yudhi Mahatma)

Jokowi Meets Corporate, SOE Leaders to Discuss Economic Challenges


AUGUST 25, 2015

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo met with Indonesian business leaders on Monday in his latest effort to engage the private sector in finding ways to reverse an economic slowdown.

“In the current situation, we must have the same goal, the same language, so that we can find solutions to the challenges we are dealing with,” Joko said at the meeting at the Bogor presidential palace, south of Jakarta.

Among the business leaders in attendance were John Riady, a director at the Lippo Group, a conglomerate with interests including property, media and health services; Anderson Tanoto, a director at pulp and paper giant Royal Golden Eagle; Rosann Perkasa Roeslani, chairman of investment group Recapital Advisors; and Franky Welirang, a director at processed food giant Indofood Sukses Makmur.

The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with the Lippo Group.

Also in attendance, from the government’s side, were Vice President Jusuf Kalla – himself a prominent businessman – chief economics minister Darmin Nasution, chief welfare minister Puan Maharani, chief maritime minister Rizal Ramli, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, National Development Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, and Trade Minister Thomas Lembong.

Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardodjo, Financial Services Authority (OJK) chairman Muliaman Hadad and Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chief Franky Sibarani were also present.

Joko said it was imperative that leaders of the business community, both from the private sector and from SOEs, join hands to help the government find ways to counter a climate of growth that has slowed to its weakest pace in six years, in large part because the government’s promised spending on ambitious infrastructure projects has been fouled up in red tape and bureaucratic bungling.

“The point is, we have the money. There’s a lot of money within the ministries, SOEs also have money, and regional administrations also have money,” Joko said.

“We only need to spend that money, but why we can’t do it faster? We [the central government] will help by giving assurances [to speed up spending].”

The president’s call came as the Jakarta stock index plunged 4 percent on Monday to hit a 20-month low, amid a global stock rout spurred by fears of a worse-than-anticipated downturn in China.

Analysts say Indonesian stocks are likely to remain under heavy pressure for at least the next month as investors await an anticipated interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.