Sri Mulyani Compares Financial Issues in Eras of Jokowi, SBY

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • Finance Minister Sri Mulyani attends a work meeting with the House's Budget Committee in Jakarta, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. TEMPO/Tony Hartawan

    Finance Minister Sri Mulyani attends a work meeting with the House's Budget Committee in Jakarta, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. TEMPO/Tony Hartawan

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani revealed several differences regarding financial management issues between the eras of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. According to her, there were distinctive problems in the two periods.

    The minister explained that in the administrative era of SBY, crude oil prices increased to US$90 per barrel, causing instability in the State Budget (APBN) and forcing the government to provide high subsidy and create an adjustment in every sector.

    At that time, Sri went on, she was ordered to earmark a budget of an assistance program for the poor dubbed Bantuan Langsung Tunai or BLT (cash aid transfer). Also, the 1998 crisis still affected the State Budget. 

    “That’s the situation Pak SBY must go through. The point is, we had to establish new programs and keep moving,” said the minister, Friday, August 2.

    Different problems emerged in the era of President Jokowi, when crude oil prices were recorded at US$30 per barrel. “Each period has its own special challenges,” she added.

    The former managing director of the World Bank said that the low tax compliance rate and the issuance of tax amnesty policy were two of the challenges she had to deal with in Jokowi’s era.

    “When I came in July 2016, the Tax Amnesty Law had been drafted, but the regulation was still incomplete, while the public started to ask. That’s such a huge problem,” Sri said.

    After being the finance minister replacing Bambang Brodjonegoro, Sri Mulyani recalled she asked President Jokowi for two days to study the State Budget she considered unsustainable.

    Sri Mulyani then asked to cut a budget of Rp170 trillion from the APBN during a cabinet meeting. “We remove an allocation with the least effect on the Indonesian economy and implement tax amnesty.”

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