The Jakarta Post
The two competing presidential candidates, Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, focused on people-based economy in their second presidential debate held in Grand Melia Hotel in Jakarta, on Sunday evening. The two candidates, however, displayed clear policy differences in the debate broadcast live on Metro TV.
'I'm committed to boosting Indonesia's productivity by supporting small and micro businesses and improving the budgeting systems both at the national and local levels,' said Jokowi, who got the first turn to explain his economic policies in the two-hour debate moderated by Ahmad Erani Yustika, a professor of economics from the Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java.
Jokowi further said his experience both as Surakarta mayor and Jakarta governor had made him aware of the importance of giving adequate space for small and micro businesses to grow.
'We should give adequate space for traditional markets and street vendors to develop their economic activities because they are the basis of our micro economy. They should be managed well,' he said.
Jokowi went on to say that regional development planning must also include a program to provide proper space for small and medium-sized business players to carry out their economic activities and to expedite barriers to their businesses by, among other things, improving transparency of regional budgets through an online system.
Meanwhile, Prabowo highlighted issues related to economic nationalism, emphasizing domestic control of the economy.
He said in his remarks that if elected, he would do his best to decrease 'leakage' in the country's energy sector that caused losses of up to Rp 1 quadrillion (US$84.56 billion) per year. That money could be used to finance other sectors for the sake of people's welfare, he added.
Citing 2013 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) data, Prabowo said total leakage in the state budget could reach Rp 7.2 quadrillion.
'We want to seal the leakage and save the budget to reallocate the funds to other sectors. Thus, such a huge amount of money can be channeled to improve basic services in cities and villages,' he said.
Prabowo further said the funds would likely be adequate to finance many infrastructure projects and to provide at least Rp 1 billion per village annually as stipulated in Law No.16/2014 on villages.
'We have all the resources and money to increase people's income but we should eradicate corruption while at the same time controlling our own resources,' said Prabowo.
Citing Article 33 in the 1945 Constitution, Prabowo said the state should still play a critical role in managing all economic resources that were related to the lives of its people.
'In the neo-liberal economy, the government plays only a referee-like role; but in our vision, the government should be more than that. It should be a pioneer in managing the country's economic resources,' he said.
The third presidential debate on internal politics and national security is scheduled to take place on June 22. (gda/ebf)
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