Jakarta. Lippo Group chief executive James Riady said Indonesia can play a bigger role in the world economy, with the country currently serving as one of the key engines of growth in Southeast Asia.
James, who spoke at a national coordinating meeting of Indonesia's biggest Muslim organization, the Nadlatul Ulama (NU), in Jakarta on Saturday (19/11), said the country has led Southeast Asia's economy with its solid performance.
He said the United States contributes about 24 percent of the world economy, followed by Europe (22 percent), Japan (5 percent) and Southeast Asia (3.3 percent).
"In Southeast Asia, about 50 percent of the population, and I am sure about 50 percent of the wealth, comes from Indonesia. In the United States, there are still many problems; economics problems. In Europe, it [the economy] is likely to remain troublesome over the next 10 years, while Japan is seeing its population aging," said James, who is also deputy chairman of the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).
"In Latin America and Africa there are many troubles also. There is one region that registers good growth; it is Southeast Asia and Indonesia leads," he said.
James was invited to speak at the meeting as he is seen as sharing the organization's vision for the development of the nation.
The businessman called on the government to improve regulations and Indonesia's complex bureaucracy.
"The root of all problems is government policy. Regulations come from policy; if the policy is not good, then it will impact others," he said.
James said the business community needs certainty in doing business, including easier processes to secure permits and less complicated bureaucracy and regulations.
He also praised the NU, which has about 90 million members in the country, for its vision in education and economic development.
"Regarding education, we can see that the NU has so many schools spread in so many areas [...] Our hopes are that those schools affiliated to the NU can improve further, so it can nurture the next generation to have a stronger foundation [in education]," he said.
James said the Lippo Group, which runs the biggest private hospital group in Indonesia, can help the Muslim organization to develop public hospitals to better serve people, especially those living in densely populated areas, but who are having difficulties in accessing health-care services.
NU secretary general Helmy Faisal Zaini responded to the invitation by assigning the organization's health unit to follow up on the matter.
There are currently about 30 private hospitals affiliated to the Muslim organization in various parts of the country.
During the meeting, NU chairman Said Agil Siroj said the organization would maintain its commitment to protect the nation's unity and sovereignty. The organization also supports economic development that focuses on people empowerment.
"We need to develop a people-based economy," he said, adding that supremacy of the law and people empowerment are important for national development.
The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with the Lippo Group.