TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Yustinus Prastowo, a special staffer to the Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, clarified the research report on Indonesia’s hidden debts to China. The research by AidData said Indonesia owed US$17.28 billion or around Rp245.7 trillion.
“The information is inaccurate. They are not government debt,” said Prastowo via his Twitter account @prastow on Friday, October 15.
AidData is an international development research lab based at William & Mary's Global Research Institute. The report, entitled "Banking on the Belt and Road" and covered the hidden debts, was published in September 2021.
The debt pile was related to China's Belt and Road Initiative. AidData also highlighted the high-speed rail project that would cause the government to accumulate huge debts to Beijing.
Prastowo said they were not hidden debts, but rather non-government debts. “But if there is a default, there are risks that may drag the government,” he said.
The debts in the AidData’s report, Prastowo underlined, were generated from the Business-to-Business (B2B) scheme carried out by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), state-owned banks (Himbara), Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), joint ventures, and the private sector.
Such debts were not recorded as government debts. “The loans are entirely the responsibility of [SOEs and private parties],” Prastowo said, adding that the withdrawal of foreign debts (ULN) carried out by the government, SOEs, and the private parties were recorded in Indonesia's Foreign Debt Statistics (SULNI).