Editorial: Economy Suffers as Govt Plays Politics
While Indonesia’s low- and middle-income workers continue to be the saviors of the country’s economy, the government is only dragging the economy down.
Indonesia’s economy grew at the slowest pace in more than five years in the first quarter this year. Gross domestic product only rose 4.71 percent in the January-March period, down from 5.01 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, and was the weakest since the 4.12 percent pace in the third quarter of 2009.
But it could have been worse had people not spent money. Although their spending power dropped due to inflation, household consumption, which accounted for 56 percent of economic activity, rose 5 percent in the first quarter, outpacing government spending and investment, which grew by only 2.2 percent and 4.4 percent respectively.
In other words, the government failed to carry out the projects it promised to do, while the private sector was still in wait-and-see mode, with the government unable to convince it to pour more money into the economy.
This is a strong warning for President Joko Widodo as his administration continue to shoot itself in the foot with questionable policies.
He and his aides, for instance, are busy defending a decision to nominate a graft-tainted general for police chief; facing international fury over the execution of foreign drug convicts; and conceding that he’s less than meticulous about what he signs.
Such blunders have taken up much of Joko’s focus and time away from the one thing that can save his job: the economy.
The slowing of the nation’s economic growth is only the beginning if his government continues to create controversy. Forget politicking; it’s the economy, Mr. President.
Source: The Jakarta Globe