Jokowi gives ministers a month to simplify regulations

JAKARTA • President Joko Widodo yesterday ordered his Cabinet to simplify Indonesia's regulatory framework within its first month in office, stressing the new administration's priority is to create jobs in South-east Asia's biggest economy.

Mr Joko on Wednesday inaugurated ministers in his second-term Cabinet, half of whom are technocrats, while the other half have links to political parties.

Hosting his first Cabinet meeting, Mr Joko, also known as Jokowi, said ministers should work as a team to identify central and regional government regulations that overlap and are overly complicated.

"Anything that hampers our services to the people, hampers investment by the business community, identify them within a month," said Mr Joko, ordering such regulations be reviewed or removed. "Our biggest goal... is to create jobs. This is needed and wanted by the people."

The President also reminded ministers not to disagree in public, saying they were free to debate things within government meetings.

Despite Mr Joko's efforts since coming to power in 2014 to make it easier to start a business, investors still find it difficult to enter some sectors, he said in May.

After swearing in his ministers, Mr Joko ordered them to revise 74 laws by applying "omnibus laws", or legislation that encompasses diverse and unrelated issues.

Foreign direct investment in Indonesia has been sluggish in recent years because of regulatory uncertainty and weak commodity prices.

Mr Joko has said Indonesia has not attracted as much investment from manufacturers trying to move out of China as compared with other South-east Asian countries.

 
 
 

Yesterday, Indonesia's central bank stepped up efforts to boost the economy by cutting its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time in four months, while saying growth in the third quarter may be slower than expected.

Bank Indonesia (BI) has lowered the seven-day reverse repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 5 per cent, said governor Perry Warjiyo.

Since July, BI has rolled back 100 basis points of the 175 basis points of rate hikes made last year to contain capital outflows related to monetary tightening by the United States Federal Reserve.

BI revised down a touch its outlook for the third-quarter growth to 5.05 per cent from 5.1 per cent, but maintained its forecast for full-year 2019 at about 5.1 per cent, Mr Warjiyo said, while noting that the government should provide fiscal stimulus to help boost gross domestic product expansion to 5.3 per cent next year.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline 'Jokowi gives ministers a month to simplify regulations'. Print Edition | Subscribe