At the meeting with the deans from 19 state and private universities, the President was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Teten Masduki.
Masduki said the President wished to hear the inputs of academics from across the country with regards to finding solutions to the current economic problems facing the country.
"The President had invited the deans and today 19 of them were here to build good relations between the presidential office and Economics faculties. The President wanted the universities to offer ideas, data, analysis and economic models for resolving the countrys current economic slowdown," he said.
President Widodo explained the current economic conditions and measures adopted by the government in response to them.
He also explained how stability in the prices of basic necessities, peoples buying power and budget spending, must continuously be increased.
"He also spoke about how infrastructure development and capital inflow could be increased. The President is currently lobbying in several countries to get investment dollars and also exploring local products to substitute imported ones," Masduki added.
He said the government would announce a package of economic policies on Wednesday to lead the direction of the countrys economic development in the future.
"At present, Indonesias economy is still growing in the midst of a declining supply of dollars due to a drop in exports of primary commodities and the global economic slowdown. The fastest way to get investment dollars is through capital influx but in the future we will have to boost industrialization to capitalize on our manufacturing industries that have grown since the 1980s in Java and the food processing units outside Java," he said.
In essence, Masduki said the economic policy was part of efforts to expedite investment in infrastructure and other sectors.
The Dean of the Economics faculty at Gajahmada University, Wihana Kirana Jaya, proposed expediting infrastructure development and increasing productivity through an entrepreneurship program.
The Dean of the Economics and Business faculty at the State Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, Chandra Fajri Ananda, suggested accelerating the disbursement of infrastructure budgets and rural funds lying unused in several districts/cities and in view of increasing the harmony between the government and the House of Representatives.
Nury Effendi, the Dean of the Economics faculty at the Padjadjaran University in Bandung, termed the meeting as a strategic and synergy event which was new because it had never happened before.
"In a limited capacity, the deans could become the partner and sparring partner of the government in policy making," he noted.(*)