We are lucky to be a country that is less affected (by the crisis) compared to other countries, however, we should not become complacent.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is targeting to narrow the state budget (APBN) deficit to 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), Speaker of the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Bambang Soesatyo, has informed.

"Earlier, the President told us -- the heads of state institutions -- that the government really expects the deficit rate (to reach) 2.8 percent, which is below the standard rate of 3 percent," he said at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on Friday.

He made the statement after attending a meeting with the President as well as other heads of state institutions, including Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR), Puan Maharani, as well as Speaker of the Regional Representative Council (DPD), La Nyalla Mattalitti.

The meeting was also attended by Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court (MK), Anwar Usman; chairman of the State Audit Board (BPK), Isma Yatun; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (MA), Muhammad Syarifuddin; as well as chairman of the Judicial Commission (KY), Mukti Fajar Nur Dewata.

According to the mandate of Law Number 2 of 2020, Indonesia's state budget deficit should return to 3 percent by 2023.

The deficit in 2020 reached 5.78 percent of the GDP, while the deficit in 2021 was recorded at 4.65 percent of the GDP. One of the causes for the high deficit has been fuel subsidies of Rp502 trillion (US$33.75 billion), which are being provided to shore up people’s purchasing power.

"The President suggested that it is necessary to evaluate the subsidy whether it does not have to be disbursed in form of fuel subsidy since there is a lot of misuse in real practice, and who can guarantee it (is fully reaching the right recipients)?" the MPR speaker noted.

Still, Widodo is considering whether the fuel subsidy should be converted into direct cash assistance for the community, he added.

That would certainly reduce the burden on the APBN, especially since the government must maintain the budget deficit at 3 percent in 2023, he said.

Moreover, currently, the world is facing food and energy crises.

"The President has said that it is important for us, as state officials, to understand and be vigilant to anticipate (the crises),” Soesatyo informed.

He said that the crises may have multiple impacts, such as inflation due to the large subsidy burden on the APBN.

“We are lucky to be a country that is less affected (by the crises) compared to other countries, however, we should not become complacent," he remarked.

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Translator: Desca Natalia, Uyu Liman
Editor: Sri Haryati
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