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Monday, May 24, 2010

Agus Ready to Deal with Political Pressures

Friday, 21/05/2010 00:00 WIB

Agus Ready to Deal with Political Pressures: Positive Sentiment towards Minister of Finance's Inauguration Prevents Index and Rupiah from Plummeting

Irvin Avriano A.
Bisnis Indonesia

JAKARTA: Minister of Finance Agus D.W. Martowardojo is ready to deal with political pressures in doing his new by building a good communication with the stakeholders.

He said he would try to build internal as well as internal communication to create a favorable situation in doing his job.

Agus made the statement in response to questions asked by journalists regarding his readiness to face political pressures in running his new post as the Minister of Finance after he was inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the State Palace yesterday.

Although he admitted that change could not be made overnight, Agus promised he would continue reform at the Ministry of Finance.

When met after the transfer of post from Sri Mulyani Indrawati, held two hours after the inauguration, Agus again spoke of political relations.

"We fully understand and believe that it will be impossible for the Ministry of Finance to do its job without supports from all stakeholders within and without the Ministry of Finance".

He added, "We need good coordination with all stakeholders, whether with the House of Representatives, the businesses, NGOs representing the people, and others. We have to do our respective jobs and functions well".

Agus continued in the next eight months he and Deputy Minister of Finance Anny Ratnawati would maintain the momentum of economic growth by ensuring a healthy state budget.

In a bid to secure tax and non-tax state revenues, Agus said the Ministry would focus on efforts to improve taxpayers' compliance by fostering their patriotism.

The banker, who will leave Bank Mandiri, cited he would strike a harmonization between fiscal and monetary policies. He also emphasized bureaucratic reform as something important.

"We understand that remuneration is not yet ideal. However, since I have chosen to become a civil servant, I have to be committed to running the Ministry of Finance as best as I can to make us really proud to deliver something and create public welfare".

Anny didn't comment much. "The prioritized assignment is to continue the bureaucratic reform. The next most important assignments are economic and fiscal stabilities", she said.

Former Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani considered Agus and Anny the right figures to helm the Ministry of Finance.

Deal with leakage

Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa stated the new Minister of Finance was assigned by President Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono to bolster state revenues by minimizing leakages.

"Last night [Wednesday night], the President and the Vice President gave their direct instruction. Reform has to be continued and state revenues have to be secured since we are about to deliberate the 2011 State Budget. It is not a challenge to be taken lightly," he said in the Vice Presidential Palace yesterday.

Chairperson of the Federation of Domestic Private Banks (Perbanas) Sigit Pramono hoped it would be easier for Agus to synchronize fiscal and monetary policies to bolster the real sector growth.

Chairperson of the House's Commission XI Emir Moeis inserted he was waiting for several Bill deliberation agenda involving the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Minister of Finance, one of which is the Financial Service Authority (OJK) Bill.

Vice Speaker of the House Priyo Budi Santoso hoped Agus could build a better communication between the government and the House. "Agus is one of capable figures and top bankers in the country, so that we believe Agus will be able to build a good communication with the parliament," said the politician from the Golkar party.

In the meantime, Anggito Abimanyu decided to resign from his post as Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF).

"From six months ago, I should have been appointed Deputy Minister of Finance. So, when a definitive deputy minister has been named, it's over".

Anggito said he would return to Gadjah Mada University as a lecturer. "This is actually my wish from the very beginning".

Meanwhile, positive sentiment towards the appointment of Agus as the Minister of Finance was unable to prevent the index decline on investors' worry about transaction limit in the European bourses.

Yesterday, the Composite Stock Index (IHSG) on Indonesia Stock Exchange (BEI) fell by 1.29% or 35.24 points to a two-month low of 2,694.25. Moreover, the rupiah exchange rate to the US dollar dropped 0.91% to IDR9,265.

"Indonesia has been facing capital outflow," told an analyst at PT Trust Securities Suhendra Wahid.

According to him, such a situation transpired because foreign investors were worried about transaction limit in the European bourses, including the German bourse, in the wake of the Greek debt crisis. Such limitation covered short selling ban and hedge fund limit.

An economist at PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Plc Helmi Arman disclosed the appointment of Agus and Anny created a neutralizing positive impact on the market psychology.

Both figures were argued to reduce worries among some parties about the increasingly limited role of the government in making policies after Chairperson of the Golkar Party Aburizal Bakrie was appointed the Chairperson of the Coalition Party Joint Secretariat. (Bisnis/ts/asd/agi/aca/dea/irs/ltc/yes/iaa/ags/bsi)

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