The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is refusing to view the glass as half empty even though official data released Wednesday shows that the country’s economy last year grew at its slowest pace since 2015.
Statistics Indonesia announced that Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 5.02 percent last year as investment and exports cooled. The figure is lower than 5.17 percent growth in 2018 and below the government’s target of 5.3 percent.
“Let’s compare the figure with those of other countries, especially those in the G20. Our growth is still the second highest,” Jokowi said at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday. “Alhamdulillah [thank God], we should be thankful that our economic growth is still above 5 percent.”
Maintaining such an economic performance, he went on to say, was difficult given the global economic slowdown but good communication between the central bank and the government, coupled with prudent policies, had helped anchor the country’s economy.
The government has stepped up efforts to boost the sluggish economy by carrying out reforms to attract more investment. The central bank joined forces last year by relaxing its benchmark interest rate and issuing accommodative macroprudential policies.
Indonesia’s prudent fiscal policy was also important in maintaining economic stability, Jokowi said.
“Japan Credit Rating [Agency] recently upgraded our [sovereign credit] rating. What does it mean? It means international trust toward us is getting better,” he said.
Japan Credit Rating Agency raised Indonesia’s sovereign debt rating from BBB with a positive outlook to BBB+ with a stable outlook last month. The rating mainly reflects the country’s solid domestic consumption-led economic growth, restrained budget deficit and public debt, as well as resilience to external shocks.
“We should voice this optimism. Don’t just pick pessimistic things up,” Jokowi stressed. (prm)