The new energy and ministerial resources minister, Darwin Zahedy Saleh, has set his sights on accelerating the realization of private investment in the sector through various programs and
“Increasing production has been our concern and challenge. We must accelerate investment realization in exploration production and in infrastructure both for storage and distribution,” Darwin said during his inauguration ceremony Thursday.
The government initially expected to book up to US$25 billion investment in the sector, but later on the target was revised down to $18 billion due to the global crisis.
“I will continue what good aspects have been achieved and improve what needs to be improved,” Darwin said.
As a new minister, Darwin will be challenged to get the energy and mining sector to contribute more than 30 percent of the state revenue. In the oil and gas sector, he must work hard to anticipate declining oil production due to aging fields.
As for the mining sector, he must convince investors to comply with the enactment of the new mining law. He is also expected to solve the country’s increasing power deficit problem.
“We face tough challenges, but with good will and cooperation I am optimistic that we can triumph.”
Darwin is head of economic division at President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party. His appointment as the energy and mineral resources ministry was unexpected to practitioners and analysts alike as he is relatively unfamiliar to the sector.
“To be honest, I was not aware of him before, but I expect he will do the best for the ministry,” said a ministry’s high-ranking official who refused to be named.
Energy analysts voiced similar arguments.
“I never heard any of his views on how to manage the sector.
But, hopefully with his doctorate in economics he can learn fast about urgent problems in the
sector and will come up with accurate solutions,” energy analyst Kurtubi said.
Observer Pri Agung Rakhmanto of the Reforminer Institute said Darwin might need support from experts in the sector.
Former energy and mineral resources minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said he believed Darwin could lead the ministry.
“He has a very strong educational background,” said Purnomo, now the new defense minister.
In an earlier interview, Darwin said he was not a totally new face in the sector.
“In my early career at Bank Duta, I was in charge of lending credits to oil and gas companies. I know
the business network from this experience.”
Darwin, born on Oct. 29, 1960, graduated from the University of Indonesia’s (UI) Economics Faculty in 1986 and later completed his masters study on business administration at Middle Tennessee State University, US, in 1994. This year he completed his doctorate program on finance and management, also at UI.
His employment history includes: dean’s senior advisor at UI’s economics faculty from 2006 until present, head of the economic and finance division of the Democratic Party from 2005 until present, deputy dean of UI’s faculty of economics from 2005 to 2006 and chie