Joko says govt reforms to boost economy are paying off with biggest infrastructure plan in Indonesia's history

 Indonesian President Joko Widodo said government reforms to boost the economy are starting to pay off, enabling it to embark on the biggest infrastructure plan in the nation's history.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said government reforms to boost the economy are starting to pay off, enabling it to embark on the biggest infrastructure plan in the nation's history. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo said government reforms to boost the economy are starting to pay off, enabling it to embark on the biggest infrastructure plan in the nation's history.

Conditions are much better now than when he took office three years ago, with economic growth back at above 5 per cent, Mr Joko, known as Jokowi, said in his speech at Bloomberg's Year Ahead Asia Conference in Jakarta on Wednesday (Dec 6).

"These positive developments are thanks to one thing and one thing only: reform," he said.

The economy grew more than 5 per cent every quarter this year and is forecast by the government to expand by 5.4 per cent in 2018. While that's still below the 7 per cent target set by Mr Joko when he came to power three years ago, a recovery in exports and rising investment are underscoring the strength in Indonesia's economy, he said.

The government had worked hard on reforms, including removing fuel subsidies to free up funds to finance building roads, railways and ports, the president said.

"We are on track to complete the most amount of infrastructure ever built during a five-year period in Indonesia," he said.