Mon, 11 Sep 2000

Government supports new economic body

JAKARTA (JP): The government voiced on Saturday support for the Committee for National Economic Recovery (KPEN), which was formed by the country's business community to replace the government-sponsored and now defunct National Business Development Council (DPUN).

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Rizal Ramli said the government welcomed the establishment of the KPEN and expected the committee to play a significant role in helping to accelerate the country's economic recovery.

"This (KPEN) is good. We really need input from business people on what's really going on out there and how our policies are being implemented because it is actually they who carry out the policies," he said after a meeting with KPEN members.

He said the government was committed to working closely with the country's business community in its effort to boost recovery of the trade and industry sectors.

He said his office would hold monthly meetings with KPEN and business players to keep the latter informed about the government's new policies regarding the trade and industry sectors.

Rizal met on Saturday with KPEN officials and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Trade (Kadin) to obtain information on the current developments in the business sector.

KPEN was established on Sept. 5 by some business associates and members of Kadin with the main objective of enabling former DPUN members to realize their targeted working programs, especially in creating one million jobs. The new committee was attached to Kadin.

DPUN was one of two business councils formed by President Abdurrahman Wahid in the early months of his presidency to assist his Cabinet's work, but all the councils were abolished by the President mid-August.

The committee has Kadin's boss Aburizal Bakrie as chairman and tycoon Sofyan Wanandi, who is the former head of DPUN, as executive director.

KPEN is made up of 32 people, most of whom are the country's key business figures from various sectors like James Riady, Subronto Laras, Soegeng Sarjadi, Sunyoto Tanudjaja, Haryadi Sukamdani and Yusuf Faishal.

KPEN is set to work only for a one year period, but this could be extended if Kadin and the business community considered it necessary.

Sofyan said that for the short term, KPEN's main target was to help some 170,000 medium and small-scale businesses to deal with the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) as part of their debt restructuring programs.

He said KPEN would ask the government to give special treatment to medium and small-scale businesses to accelerate the restructuring of their debts so they could immediately obtain new credit and start operations.

He said KPEN would also work to create as many job opportunities as possible and act as mediator between corporations and labor unions in any labor disputes. (cst)