TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Economists doubt the ability of President Joko Widodo's economy team in the cabinet. Some ministers are regarded as not having qualified track records, while some are considered to have been placed in posts that don't match their competence.
Economists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Latif Adam, highlighted the State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno and Industry Minister Saleh Husin. Rini's performance as Minister of Industry and Trade during President Megawati Sukarnoputri's era, Latif said, was nothing special. As for Saleh, Latif said the man has no experience in overcoming industry-related problems.
"While there are many industry issues that must be addressed, including our dependence on imports, low competitiveness, and poor quality workforce," he said yesterday.
Ahmad Erani Yustika, an economist from the Institute for Development of Economic and Finance (Indef), said that Sofyan Djalil—who Jokowi appointed as Coordinating Minister for the Economy, has little knowledge of fiscal and monetary. He also criticized the appointment of Bambang Brodjonegoro as Finance Minister. Bambang, he said, is a failed designer of the State Budget.
Erani also lamented on the appointment of Rahmat Gobel as Trade Minister, saying that Rahmat would have been more suited as Minister of Industry.
Erani agreed with a number of Jokowi's choices, however, praising the appointment of Andrinof Chaniago as National Development Planning Minister and Sudirman Said as Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources. Both men, said Erani—although not the most competent—have integrity.
On the contrary, University of Indonesia economist Lana Soelistianingsih said that Andrinof's appointment was not the correct one, since he has no background in economics. The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), she said, is a state institution that plans national programs and direct other ministries, ergo it needs an experienced leader. "Everyone can be an economic observer, but when it comes to Bappenas, it has to be lead by an expert," he said.
Suryo Bambang Sulisto, Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, disagrees with the economists and welcomes Jokowi's team of economic ministers. Suryo said that just because people lack the necessary track record, it does not mean they cannot work and make achievement.
TRI ARTINING PUTRI | KHAIRUL ANAM | AMOS SIMANUNGKALIT | ANANDA TERESIA