Newly appointed Tax Director General Robert Pakpahan, left, poses with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, center, at his inauguration event in Jakarta on Thursday (30/11). (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

New Taxman Robert Pakpahan Takes Office


DECEMBER 02, 2017

Jakarta. Veteran Finance Ministry official Robert Pakpahan has become the new tax director general, replacing now retired Ken Dwijugiasteadi.

Robert, 58, has difficult tasks ahead of him to meet the government's tax revenue target, an undertaking that many of his predecessors failed to accomplish.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati admitted that Robert will have to face challenges posed by Indonesia's slow economic recovery and low tax base.

"Collect enough tax in 2017 and 2018, without disturbing the momentum of the economic recovery," Sri Mulyani told the new tax chief during his inauguration on Thursday (30/11).

The government collected Rp 1,148 trillion ($85 billion) in tax payments in the first 11 months this year, or just 78 percent of its Rp 1,472 trillion target.

Recovery in the country's commodity sector, traditionally one of the biggest contributors to the state's coffers, has yet to hit top gear, while weak domestic consumption makes a short-term economic upswing unlikely.

The International Monetary Fund cut its projection on Indonesia's economy growth to 5.1 percent this year from 5.2 percent. The fund is also less optimistic about its 2018 projection, penciling 5.3 percent, while the government hopes for 5.4 percent.

Still, Sri Mulyani expressed hope that Robert will uphold the office's discipline and good governance.

"The responsibilities he had on previous positions and experience in carrying out reforms will help him in fulfilling this difficult task," she said.

Robert previously served as the head of the ministry's debt management office, managing the country's debts and bond issuance. The post is now filled by Lucky Al Firman, former member of Sri Mulyani's expert staff for state revenue policy.