House approves Boediono
as central bank governor

FIT AND PROPER: Photographers take the picture of Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono
FIT AND PROPER: Photographers take the picture of Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono before the start of a "fit-and-proper" test held by the House of Representatives (DPR) on Monday. Boediono, the sole candidate proposed by the government to head Bank Indonesia, needs to secure the House's approval to fill the central bank's top position. (JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

As Indonesia faces accelerating inflation that may trim the country's expected economic growth, the House of Representatives' financial commission approved Monday chief economic minister Boediono as the nation's 13th central bank chief.

The decision was made through a vote after the commission held "fit-and-proper" test to examine Boediono's vision and mission for leading Bank Indonesia (BI).

Boediono, the coordinating minister for the economy, received votes from 45 of the 46 lawmakers attending the Commission XI selection panel, which previously rejected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's two central bank governor candidates.

The House is slated to confirm the appointment at a plenary session on Tuesday, or by April 10.

Boediono will succeed Burhanuddin Abdullah, whose five-year term expires May 17.

During the assessment session, the 65-year-old former Gadjah Mada University economics professor said he would improve BI's role as monetary stabilizer as well as fix the long-stalled communication with top government economic officials.

"To achieve that, BI will have to mend its relations with the government, especially with authorities responsible for the distribution of goods and with regional institutions.

"In terms of monetary and financial policies, the most urgent thing to do is finish drafting the bill on financial safety nets," said Boediono, a Wharton-trained economist who is known for his impeccable integrity and competence.

The bill, he said, would provide the country with detailed procedures on how to make decisions relating to monetary, banking and fiscal matters during financial turmoil.

The commission concluded Boediono's knowledge and blend of experiences while acting as finance minister during Megawati Soekarnoputri's administration from 2001-2004, deputy governor at Bank Indonesia from 1996-1998 and state minister for development planning, made him a suitable choice to strengthen cooperation and coordination in an environment of high inflation.

His record, the commission said, would greatly help the integrity and credibility of the central bank, which has been beleaguered by several corruption cases with its outgoing Governor Burhanuddin Abdullah and two other senior executives recently declared corruption suspects.

Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said the government was content with the House's acceptance of Boediono.

"We have heard from the House that Pak Boediono was supported by some 45 House members. This is a good sign the President has proposed an appropriate figure for the position," Andi said.

Regarding Boediono's replacement, Andi said the President was still undecided.

Boediono was appointed the coordinating minister in December 2005, replacing Aburizal Bakrie who was deemed responsible for plunging the country into a minor economic crisis. (uwi)

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