TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially handed over his presidential seat to Joko Widodo this morning. The end of Yudhoyono's leadership is accompanied by economists' opinions at how he failed to fix the real sector during his presidency, especially in the second term.
Enny Sri Hartati from the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), said one indication of SBY's failure in economy is the declining performance of three major real sectors: mining, agriculture, and industry.
Enny said that in the industry sector, for example, Indonesia should achieve a double-digit growth what with the country's abundant natural and human resources. "But we only scored a five-percent growth, which are mostly supported by imported raw materials," Enny said yesterday.
"The high import of raw materials puts the trade balance in deficits, always. The current level of raw material imports for the industry sector has reached 70 percent."
Meanwhile, Atma Jaya University economist Agustinus Prasetyantoko said that Yudhoyono did not make many changes to the economic structure to support growth. In addition to lingering bureaucratic problems, there is no policy to develop production elements such as manufacturing, industrial, and energy.
"SBY worked best when situations are bad," Prasetyantoko told Tempo yesterday. He pointed out when the rupiah dropped and oil imports volume soared last year, the government rushed to cut fuel subsidies. However, when the situation calmed down, the government did not continue the policy.
Prasetyantoko suggested the new government to structurally reform economic policies. "For macroeconomy, Jokowi can easily solve it by raising fuel prices," he said.
A. Tony Prasentiantono from Gadjah Mada University said that during SBY's term Indonesia's economy made no qualitative progress. Aside from low tax revenues, Tony said, the absence of economic progress can be seen from the high level of poverty.
With a definition that Indonesians make US$1.25 per person per day, the number of poor people reached 65 million. The number will go up if the income definition was raised to US$2 per person per day, putting Indonesia's poor population at 100 million people.
Sofjan Wanandi, chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association, also said that Yudhoyon's last five years as president did not produce much for the Indonesian economy. Subsidies are higher, the state budget is unhealthy, and infrastructure investments are small. He also lamented on SBY's failure to deliver the promises he made at the beginning of his terms.
"There were plenty of good concepts, such as the MP3EI (Economic Acceleration And Expansion Masterplan), but the implementation was minimal," he said.
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