President Joko Widodo. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)

Jokowi Mulls Reshuffle in Ministries with Big Import Spending

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

MARCH 25, 2022

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Friday instructed his government to spend more on domestic products for their procurement needs to propel economic growth and job creation, even threatening to have another cabinet shake-up if the ministries still rely on imports.

The government has set a target to spend Rp 400 trillion (about $27.8 billion) of its procurement budget on domestic products. Jokowi has his heart set on having this target achieved by May 2022. The president, however, still catches his government buying imported products — starting from CCTVs, hospital beds, agricultural tools, laptops, notebooks to pens.

“There is no bargaining for us to achieve the Rp 400 trillion target by May. We must also get as many MSMEs as soon as possible to our e-catalogue [the government’s online procurement system],” Jokowi said at the #BanggaBuatanIndonesia (Proud of Made in Indonesia Products) conference in Bali on Friday.

According to Jokowi, the central government’s budget for services and goods procurement stands at Rp 526 trillion. Regional governments’ procurement budget is much higher at Rp 535 trillion, whereas state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have Rp 420 trillion. Jokowi added that a 40 percent allocation of the procurement budget for domestic products could trigger a two-percent boost to economic growth.

The president also revealed the government’s spending on domestic products had only reached Rp 214 trillion, still far behind from the May target. 

“If we buy imported goods, the job creation will go to other countries. [...] By purchasing domestic products, we can spur investments and generate up to 2 million jobs. How very stupid of us if we don’t do this,” he said.

Jokowi expressed frustration to a number of ministries and government bodies for their import purchases. Among others was the Health Ministry for favoring imported hospital beds, despite the local production in Yogyakarta, Bekasi, and Tangerang. 

The Agriculture Ministry also received criticism from Jokowi for importing tractors. As well as the Indonesian Military and Police for their imported uniforms and shoes. The Education and Culture Ministry has also only spent Rp 2 trillion out of Rp 29 trillion in goods procurement, according to Jokowi. 

“Why import laptops and chairs when we can produce all those right here,” Jokowi said.

At the conference, Jokowi threatened to dismiss any SOE president director and reshuffle the cabinet if they still rely on imports.

“I have told the SOE minister to change [SOE] president directors [who still import]. The same goes for the ministries. A reshuffle, but that’s my job. [...] We have the budget, but they can't even spend it on domestic products," Jokowi said.

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