Sri Mulyani named coordinating

(JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)
(JP/R. Berto Wedhatama)

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati was inaugurated on Tuesday as the coordinating minister for the economy, replacing Boediono, who now heads the central bank.

Sri Mulyani, who will also remain finance minister, said that in her new role she would prioritize economic programs, in line with the presidential decree on the focus of economic policies for 2008 and 2009.

"There has been this idea that economic policies are not directly related to the people. However, (the policies on) food, infrastructure, energy are concrete," Sri Mulyani said.

She said she would evaluate economic policies, including those on infrastructure, investment, agriculture and small and medium enterprises, that have been criticized for their implementation.

Indonesia last year recorded 6.6 percent economic growth, its highest rate since the 1997 economic crisis. However, growth is expected to ease in 2008 due to the global economic slowdown.

"Bank Indonesia and economic ministers have the same goal, to manage a healthy economy, meaning robust economic growth, improved welfare for people and low inflation rate."

High inflation is the main threat to Indonesia's economy as it would reduce people's purchasing power, and personal spending accounts for 60 percent of the economy.

Sri Mulyani said the central bank and the government would cooperate to curb inflation.

She expects strong cooperation between the two, noting she has worked with Boediono for years.

Asked about her double duty as finance minister and chief economics minister, Sri Mulyani said: "I have no problem with that.

"Is there any conflict of interest between the finance minister and the coordinating minister for the economy? They have the same goals, they support each other."

Boediono said, "The challenges in 2008 and 2009 will be greater, many issues need to be handled carefully. I support her in overcoming the challenges."

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