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Jakarta Post

Economists to speak up on inequality issues

  • Prima Wirayani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 9, 2017   /   07:07 pm
Economists to speak up on inequality issues Indonesian Economists Association (ISEI) chairman Muliaman D. Hadad (third left) speaks to Lampung Governor M. Ridho Ficardo (third right) during a press conference in Jakarta on Oct. 9. (JP/Prima Wirayani)

Narrowing the wealth gap will be the key topic discussed at the Indonesian Economists Association (ISEI) national seminar and plenary session held from Oct. 18 to 20 in Lampung.

The association has cited the World Bank's report on Indonesia's rising divide issued last year, which revealed that the country's 10 percent richest owned 77 percent of the national wealth.

It will invite senior public officials as well as prominent individuals from the private sector to discuss the issue and compose recommendations for the government, ISEI chairman Muliaman D. Hadad told a press conference on Monday.

Read also: RI promotes digital technology as tool to reduce inequality

"Financial access, especially to financing, is an important factor [in reducing inequality] although it's not the only tool available," he said.

On that basis, he said, regional banks (BPD) had great potential to provide such access to local people, and so efforts to improve the lenders were urgent now.

He admitted that most BPD still faced problems in regard to human resources and products and thus state-owned lenders should be encouraged to acquire BPD to enable transfers of knowledge.

"There are many pending matters that still need to be thought about so that economic development can be more sustainable and the wealth gap is reduced going forward," Muliaman said, adding that such issues would be discussed in the seminar. Indonesia's Gini ratio -- a measure of inequality, in which zero represents complete equality and 1 reflects complete inequality -- stood at 0.393 in March. (bbn)