Jokowi Questions Indonesia's Slow Economic Growth

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has questioned the reasons behind Indonesia’s sluggish growth despite receiving praise from various international organizations for its efforts to improve the economy. Indonesia received an investment grade status from all global rating agencies, including a recent upgrade to BBB from Fitch Ratings Inc., the President said, adding that the World Bank had also improved Indonesia’s ranking in the ease of doing business (EODB) to 72 from 140 in 2014. Meanwhile, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) broke its record several times in 2017, increasing by 19.99 percent to 6,355.66. However, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati estimated the economy to grow by 5.05 percent last year, lower than the 5.2 percent target stipulated in the 2017 state budget. "[Indonesia’s] EODB ranking jumped, its stock market index skyrocketed, inflation was low, the state budget is safe and ratings have gotten better. Everything is good. What should we do?" he said in the front of ministers during a Cabinet meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday. “I compare [Indonesia’s] condition to that of a sick person who does not have any symptoms — cholesterol levels are good, there is no heart problem [...] and the lungs are good,” Jokowi said. He then instructed the ministers to find out what the problem was so that Indonesia “could [grow] faster.” Jokowi promised during his 2014 presidential campaign to boost Indonesia’s economic growth to 7 percent. (bbn)