The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is the sixth worst country in the world in terms of economic inequality, says a report from Oxfam Indonesia and the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (lNFlD).
In their report “Towards a more equal Indonesia,” the NGOs record that the wealth of the four richest in Indonesia is equal to the wealth of the country’s poorest 100 million citizens, indicating that Indonesia’s stable economic growth has not been followed by a fair distribution of income.
The report says economic disparity between the haves and have-nots has been deepening faster than it has in other Southeast Asian countries.
“Inequality will not only hamper poverty eradication efforts, but also slow down economic growth and pose a threat to a social cohesion,” said INFID director Sugeng Bahagijo on Wednesday as reported by kontan.co.id.
According to Oxfam and INFID, the market fundamentalism introduced into Indonesia in 1997 has facilitated the rich gaining the largest benefit from economic growth because with their political links, they have access to influence decision makers to change regulations in their favor.
Meanwhile, wages in lower-paid jobs have not increased significantly enough to help the nation’s poor rise above the poverty line. Another reason behind the deepening inequality is that economic growth has been centered in urban areas and the taxation system has failed to distribute state wealth fairly.
“Indonesia faces multi-dimensional inequality. But President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has an opportunity to prove that Indonesia could lead the fight against global inequality,” said advocacy director of Oxfam International Steve Price Thomas. (bbn)
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