Survey of recent developments
ABSTRACT In the recent legislative elections the Democrat Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) was by far the most successful. Support for other major secular-nationalist parties fell significantly, as did that for the Islamic parties as a group. Two new parties led by former generals also performed relatively poorly. At the time of writing SBY seemed the likely winner of the forthcoming presidential election, supported by running mate Boediono, the former governor of Bank Indonesia. Indonesia's performance during the global financial crisis has been vastly better than during the Asian financial crisis, and superior to that of most other countries in the region. Output growth remained positive through Q1 2009, although there were signs of heightened caution within the business community. Deft monetary policy saw inflation decline significantly, with little negative impact on output growth or the banking sector. Much of the earlier declines in the financial markets had been reversed by mid-June. Successful management of exchange rate policy in late 2008 and early 2009 raises the question whether Indonesia would fare better with a more genuinely floating exchange rate and a much lower level of international reserves. Economic outcomes during the SBY administration fell well short of the president's 2004 election campaign promises, but were comparable with those under former president Megawati, reflecting the great policy similarities of the two regimes. A key feature of the presidential election campaign has been the use of the term 'neo-liberal' to attack one's opponents. It has been implied that those following 'neo-liberal' policies favour the business sector and foreigners over the people, whereas the real issue is what types of policies are more likely to benefit the Indonesian people as a whole. The debate provides the opportunity potentially to resolve long-standing disagreements as to the relative efficacy of free market- and interventionist-type policies. Public sector accounting reform is an important aspect of efforts to improve governance. Newly introduced accounting standards require a shift to double-entry accounting, and away from the single-entry system inherited long ago from the Dutch. This requires the listing of government entities' assets and liabilities in a balance sheet, and should lead to far greater accuracy in government financial reporting. In turn, this has the potential to be a powerful anti-corruption instrument. But progress is significantly limited by a severe shortage of accountants in the public sector, and by dysfunctional personnel management practices.
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- "These are, therefore, the president's targets. As was the case with his first term (Kuncoro, Widodo, and McLeod 2009), Yudhoyono cannot report that his targets have been fully achieved, but he can certainly point to considerable progress in important areas. Indonesia looks especially good in an international perspective: its economic growth over the last five years was the fourth highest in the G20, though it was helped more than most countries by China's demand for energy and mineral resources. "
Article: Survey of Recent Developments[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Outgoing Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's second-term record is creditable, measured against the targets he set himself in 2010, but deficient in key areas: economic reform, infrastructure investment, and anti-corruption. Indonesia's 2009–14 parliament has been active in economic policymaking, and will leave as its legacy a raft of protectionist legislation. Both presidential candidates, Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, have appealed to nationalism in their campaigns, calling for Indonesia to assert its sovereignty and increase its self-sufficiency, but Jokowi's economic platform is more moderate and economically literate than Prabowo's. The incoming president will inherit an economy that continues to slow. Growth is now not expected to approach 6% until 2015 at the earliest. Having engineered a reduction in the current account deficit, Indonesian policymakers now face the more difficult problem of structural fiscal adjustment. Energy subsidies are the most immediate problem, but fiscal reform more generally will emerge as an overriding and unpleasant imperative for whoever wins the presidential election on 9 July. Unless difficult fiscal policy measures are taken, Indonesia will face major trade-offs between deficit control and investment in social programs and economic infrastructure. The new president will struggle to restrict the deficit to the cap of 3% of GDP: a balanced budget will likely not be feasible for several years. He will need to increase the ratio of revenue to GDP and eliminate fuel subsidies—through a more systematic approach than the infrequent price increases of the past. He will need to choose carefully between competing expenditure priorities, such as infrastructure and defence. The new president would also be well advised to tread cautiously in implementing the legal mandates he will inherit, and to work with parliament to avoid further and unwind current earmarking of public expenditure.Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 07/2014; 50(2). DOI:10.1080/00074918.2014.938403 · 1.45 Impact Factor
Article: Personalities, Parties, and Voters[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In Indonesia's third national elections since democratization in 1999, incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono easily won reelection, while his Democratic Party tripled its vote from the previous 2004 election. Voters in the parliamentary and presidential contests, held in April and July 2009, were motivated, according to two author-conducted nationwide opinion surveys, by support for individual leaders and candidates, the influence of media campaigns, perceptions of the state of the economy, evaluations of governmental performance, and (though declining) identification with political parties. Effects include a strengthened and more responsive presidency at the cost of a more fragmented and volatile party system.Journal of Democracy 01/2010; 21(2):35-49. DOI:10.1353/jod.0.0160 · 1.01 Impact Factor
Article: Survey of recent developments[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Little has happened to dispel concern that reform momentum is dissipating. New National Economic and Innovation Committees to help accelerate development will probably achieve little: resolving many key economic policy issues is straightforward technically, so the real obstacle to doing so is lack of political will and leadership. It appears that economic growth has stabilised rather than continuing to accelerate. Investment is still strong, but fiscal policy is no longer providing a stimulus. Soeharto-era attachment to small budget deficits remains evident in the 2011 budget, which persists in spending heavily on subsidies at the expense of investment in sorely needed infrastructure. The demand for net exports had temporarily constrained growth, but by Q2 2010 this was no longer the case. Manufacturing has been in the doldrums, partly because of surging export commodity prices and volumes, but its recent growth seems more promising. International reserves continue to accumulate because of the commitment of Bank Indonesia (BI) to avoiding rupiah appreciation, which makes monetary policy difficult and costly to implement. BI has responded by allowing some appreciation, an acceleration of inflation and a small increase in the interest rate on its certificates of deposit, and by forcing banks to place more funds with it at low or zero interest. At last it has begun to tighten monetary policy, but this is likely to increase capital inflow, despite the introduction of a new capital control. The incompatibility of BI's monetary and exchange rate policies will therefore continue to cause problems. Rapid rice price inflation, however, is not the fault of the central bank, but a consequence of the policy of preventing Indonesia from participating more fully in the world rice market. Official indicators suggest that the banking sector is in good condition. One concern is that interest margins are too high, which seems to be attributable to inefficiency in government-owned banks. If pressure to prevent or roll back increased foreign ownership of Indonesian banks is successful, this is likely to make the banking system even less efficient. Indonesia continues to have difficulty competing for foreign investment with comparator countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Brazil: much remains to be done to improve the climate for doing business. The government appears to be pondering more serious approaches to tackling the problem of Jakarta's congestion, although conflicting signals on this have emerged. Solutions are seen in expansion of transport infrastructure and improvement of its management, and in the introduction of electronic tolling on main roads.Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 12/2010; 46(3):279-308. DOI:10.1080/00074918.2010.522500 · 1.45 Impact Factor