April 10, 2014
MANDATE FOR PROGRESS
As one of Indonesia’s most prominent ﬁgures, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Ir. M. Hatta Rajasa shares his thoughts with Maina A. Harjani at the ofﬁce of his house in Fatmawati, one Sunday evening.
Being a manwho believes in real action, Hatta Rajasa is a man who is extremely hands on when it comes to serving the nation’s citizens economically and politically. “My weekdays are mostly spent in handling the challenges Indonesia is going through internally and externally because I do not want to lose the momentum. I mostly spend my weekends in the remote areas of Indonesia, visiting my constituents and providing them with what they need. This may be in obtaining clean water, a better transport system or education,” he says.
When it comes to the challenges Indonesia is facing right now, Hatta is also very active. Considering the twists and turns the country has been going through these past couple of years economically, in regards to the current account deﬁcit and the currency instability, Hatta explains that he has been tied up in bringing these two main components back on track.
“The country’s trade balances over the last three months have shown positive results,” he says. “This makes me very happy. And I believe the trend will continue in order to reduce the current account deﬁcit. And I hope by the end of this year, the current account deﬁcit will be less than 3% of the country’s GDP,” he explains.
Hatta Rajasa also shared with us his plan to run as a presidential candidate for the 2014 elections under the National Mandate Party. As its name suggests, the National Mandate Party provides people with freedom of expression and the opportunity for the general public to be a part of the solution. “Even though my party has ofﬁcially declared me as a presidential candidate, I am not willing to accept it yet until I am fully aware of our results at the legislative elections, and who I am partnered with,” he explains. “In addition, I am also still focusing on working as Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs—a role that needs more attention, especially amid all the recent challenges and ﬂuctuations of the world’s economy that will eventually affect ours.”
“The people of Indonesia are dreaming of a change. A change in the quality of life. They have hope. And we, as part of the National hope into reality,” he says. Indonesia has seen stable progress where investments are concerned. Investors have gained greater conﬁdence in investing in such a dynamic country, as there has been an evolvement in the market growth. “Data has shown that investment reached 398 trillion at the end of 2013, showing a 27% increase year on year. So I am conﬁdent that further importance will be placed on the investment capacity in 2014,” Hatta says.
As a country, Indonesia has a robust purchasing power with a middle-class society that is growing sustainably. This is why investors ﬁnd it ideal to use Indonesia as a successful production base. “Investors have to start now. Now is the time to let Indonesia be production based as well, not merely market based,” he says, adding that this political year will not hinder any economical capabilities and growth. Moreover, Indonesia will never be called a developed country without the improvement of human capital, he stresses. “It is one of my missions to ensure that good education and good health form the backbone to improve human capital around the country. This will in turn raise the country’s human development index.”
In 2015, Southeast Asia will welcome the ASEAN Economic Community, which means the region will be a single market and will be oriented toward a production-based one. In addition, equitable development will also become extremely important for ASEAN countries, especially in their efforts to increase competitiveness. Thus, Indonesia has to improve its human resources capacity, and science and technology. With strong human resources and the advancement of science and technology, Indonesia can successfully compete with others in terms of facing economic integration at the global level.
Photography by: Indra Leonardi – The Leonardi and Heri B. Heryanto
Indonesia Tatler – March 2014