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Indonesia's President-elect Jokowi eyes swift fuel hike to boost budget

Published on Aug 22, 2014 4:23 PM
 
President-elect Joko Widodo will sit down with Indonesia's outgoing leader next week in the hope of reaching an agreement to raise fuel prices before the handover in October, a move that would help ease budget-sapping subsidy costs. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (Reuters) - President-elect Joko Widodo will sit down with Indonesia's outgoing leader next week in the hope of reaching an agreement to raise fuel prices before the handover in October, a move that would help ease budget-sapping subsidy costs.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday gave Mr Joko the green light to lead South-east Asia's largest economy from its worst slowdown since the global financial crisis. The court, as expected, unanimously upheld last month's presidential election result, rejecting a last-ditch attempt by losing candidate Prabowo Subianto to force a revote. Mr Joko will begin his five-year term on Oct. 20.

With the legal hurdles out of the way, the 53-year-old Mr Joko is expected to step down soon as Jakarta governor to focus more on the transition.

Atop Mr Joko's agenda is to address a ballooning fuel subsidy bill that is eating up on an already tight budget and threatening investor confidence by widening the current account deficit. "I need spending space," Mr Joko told reporters on Friday."If we can do (the price hike) now, it will be a lighter burden."

 
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