Tue, 22 Aug 2000

New economic team should be market friendly: Kadin

JAKARTA (JP): The economic team in the planned new Cabinet should not only have a good knowledge of the global economy but should also possess a strong sense of crisis, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).

Kadin's chairman Aburizal Bakrie also said here on Monday that the new economic team must only be filled with people who have a satisfactory academic background, an excellent knowledge of market conditions and an impeccable track record.

"What we need is a market friendly, market embracing... most of all clean government," he said at a media conference.

Aburizal, more popularly known as Ical, said it was very important for the new Cabinet as a whole to pay more attention to the economic problems in a bid to help speed up the country's economic recovery and also to anticipate the mounting pressures toward global trade liberalization.

Aburizal said the new minister of trade and industry, for example, must be a person who is familiar with both local and global markets and has extraordinary lobbying skills, two characteristics which would really help the country in securing new markets and resolving problems with other countries.

While the new finance minister must focus his or her program on the fulfillment of the letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund, the formulation of a state budget and anticipation of a decentralization of the fiscal balance, as well as regional autonomy, he added.

He said some tasks of the finance minister, such as taxation and issues related to the stock market, would be better delegated to the director general of taxation and the Capital Market Supervisory Board (Bapepam) respectively.

"It's too much, really, for a finance minister to also be bothered with problems in taxation or with the stock market. It'll be more efficient if these matters were solely managed by Bapepam and the directorate general of taxation," he added.

President Abdurrahman Wahid said he planned to reshuffle the Cabinet and the line-up was expected to be announced later this week.

The main attention has so far been focused on who will be seated in the position of coordinating minister for the economy, finance and industry.

Several names, including former economic ministers Emil Salim and Kwik Kian Gie, Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, chief of State Logistics Agency Rizal Ramli and Minister of Mines and Energy Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have emerged as popular candidates.

Separately, Minister for Regional Autonomy Ryaas Rasyid told journalists at the state palace on Monday that the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the State Minister of Investment and State Enterprises would likely be merged under the new Cabinet structure.

"It will be explained by the President," he said, declining to comment further on the merger of the two ministries.

Ryaas, one of three ministers assigned by President Abdurrahman Wahid to prepare the new Cabinet structure, said there would only be 17 ministers and five junior (state) ministers in the new Cabinet.

Aburizal said he saw no problem with the discharging of the Office of the State Minister of Investment and State Enterprises.

"It doesn't really matter if the office doesn't exist. But, an institution that manages state enterprises is still needed because we haven't finished with the state companies restructuring program," he said.

He said Kadin had no candidates to be proposed to the President to fill the seat of chief economic minister.

"But, personally, I would suggest economist Sjahrir as the chief economic minister, not because we're friends, but because he knows the market very well," he said. (cst)