Wed, 12 Sep 2001

New decree on IBRA submitted

JAKARTA (JP): State Secretary/Cabinet Secretary Bambang Kesowo said on Tuesday that his office had submitted a proposal to President Megawati Soekarnoputri on a new decree to provide a legal foundation for the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA).

"Yes, the proposal has been submitted to the President," Bambang said, but he declined to elaborate.

Last month, Megawati decided to transfer the agency from under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance to the State Ministry of State Enterprises.

The transfer requires Megawati to issue a new ruling as the current government regulation, No. 17/1998, stipulates that IBRA is under the supervision of the finance ministry.

Meanwhile, State Minister of State Enterprises Laksamana Sukardi denied reports that he would take over as IBRA chairman.

"That's not true. Where did that news come from?" he said.

However, he jokingly added that if the salary was right, he might be interested in taking over IBRA's top position.

Reports on Tuesday said that Laksamana would take over the leadership at IBRA, while current chairman I Putu Ary Suta would become deputy chairman.

Meanwhile, AP Dow Jones newswires said on Tuesday that Laksamana would assume the top leadership at IBRA after Megawati signed the new ruling on the agency's status.

The move is seen as a signal to IBRA's recalcitrant debtors that the agency will take a hard-line approach in forcing them to repay debts.

IBRA controls billions of dollars worth of assets transferred from ailing and closed banks and former bank owners. The agency is mandated to restructure and sell the assets to raise cash to help finance the state budget deficit.

The crucial agency is prone to intervention from politicians and influential businessmen, causing serious obstacles in the implementation of its assets sale and restructuring programs.

Elsewhere, Laksamana confirmed Bambang's statement, adding that the draft of the new ruling was expected to be signed by Megawati on Wednesday.

"We have presented the draft to the President. We hope it will be approved today (Wednesday)," he said.(10/dja)