Jakarta. Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said on Monday that his ministry would further streamline business licensing to better assist the private sector and boost the competitiveness of Indonesian industry.
“The president and the coordinating ministers realize that the government has been too present in the licensing aspect, yet we’ve been lacking in assisting and supervising [the private sector],” Thomas told business leaders at the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (Kadin) national meeting on trade and international relation.
"As bureaucrats, we’ve had a tendency to release new regulations but we rarely cut down the old ones, so we’re entangled in our own doing... Now, as public officers, we want to shift our focus from licensing to assistance and development. Hopefully, this way, we can be more proactive in helping to boost the competitiveness of our industries,” he added.
Thomas’s statement came in the wake of President Joko Widodo’s recent stimulus measures, where he placed deregulation at the forefront of the four-part policy package.
The first set of the package, announced in early September, reviewed 134 regulations that were considered stumbling blocks to investment flow and business activity in the country; nearly a quarter pertained to import regulations under the Trade Ministry.
As of Sept. 29, Thomas has launched nine ministerial regulations — which revise five regulations and revoke four ministerial decrees — in a follow-up to the stimulus package.
Indonesia reported a steep decline in both exports and imports so far this year despite a trade surplus for the 10th consecutive month.
Shipments from the country dropped 13 percent to $115 million in the January - September period compared to the same period last year and imports fell nearly 20 percent to $107.9 million, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).
With increasing pressure globally and locally, the government is now evaluating to revise its initial ambition to triple export growth over the next five years, according to Thomas.