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President Joko Widodo officially opened Ulama trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Indonesia and Pakistan to talk about stability and peace in Afghanistan at Bogor Palace in West Java on Friday (May 11th). A total of 45 ulemas from three countries attended a series of closed meetings. In his opening remarks, President Joko Widodo asserted that Indonesia does encourage peace and stability in Afghanistan. He hoped that this meeting can provide concrete results for peace process in Afghanistan.

“Through ulemas’ voices, especially from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia, the spirit of ukhuwah for peace in Afghanistan can be strengthened. Unavoidably, this is a tough task as well as a noble task for ulemas. Thus, I re-called and let intend this meeting solely to achieve Allah's blessings. Through sowing the seeds of peace and avoiding violence among His servants. With sincere intentions, the trilateral meeting of ulemas, Insya Allah, will be a concrete contribution to peace process in Afghanistan,” President Joko Widodo said.

As reported earlier, the idea of this trilateral meeting of ulemas is the follow-up of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s state visits earlier this year. The visits were followed by ministerial talks. In the opening of this meeting, President Joko Widodo was accompanied by Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Ma'ruf Amin. (VOI/Rini H/trans by Rezha/RHM)


BI Needs to Raise Interest Rate

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Published in Indonesia Today
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Head of Center for Economic and Policy Studies of Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Tony Prasetiantono viewed that Bank Indonesia -BI needs to raise its benchmark interest rate to face the rupiah depreciation against the current US dollar. In a discussion held in Jakarta recently, he said, BI should realize that the trend of low interest rate cannot continue because of spending foreign reserves owned by Indonesia.

“So, I think BI should quickly make interest rates up to 25 or 50 basis points. But the important thing is that BI should be aware that the era of low interest rates cannot continue. The US has raised interest rates, and other countries respond the same. Even, China is also small but there is already an increase in interest rates. Unfortunately, we spend too much foreign exchange,” Tony Prasetiantono said.

Although there is no guarantee that the rise of interest rate is able to strengthen the rupiah, Tony Prasetiantono said that the effort could reduce the burden on foreign exchange reserves. Currently, Indonesia's foreign reserves have dropped considerably despite being within safe limits. He further explained that the last condition of Indonesia's foreign exchange is at $124 billion dollars. This condition has decreased drastically, considering that in January 2018, Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves managed to reach the highest point at $132 billion dollars. (VOI/Rezha/RHM)


The weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar which has penetrated the level of Rp 14,000 per US dollar makes some people worried that the monetary crisis that occurred 20 years will reoccur. However, Head of Economics and Research Finance Corporate Services UOB Indonesia, Enrico Tanuwidjaja perceived that the public should not have to worry about it because Indonesia's economic condition is now more solid than 20 years ago. This was disclosed a discussion held by a private radio station in Jakarta recently.

“With the problem of resilience in terms of the economy, I think we are much more solid than 20 or 10 years ago. It proves that we are given a rating worthy of investment by three rating agencies. That is a real testimony. Secondly, our GDP growth is slowing down, but we must remember that our main engine that is commodity since the end of 2012 has actually gone down. So, the word term is quite normal to assume that our growth will slow down until later,” Enrico Tanuwidjaja said.

Enrico Tanuwidjaja further said that currently, Indonesia's investment spending is on the rise. So, the structure of the current economic condition of Indonesia is still quite good. Especially since 2013, Indonesia's foreign exchange reserve has continued to increase until reaching the highest point. In January 2018, the amount was $132 billion dollars. (VOI/Rezha/RHM)


The weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar which has penetrated the level of Rp 14,000 per US dollar raises concerns about rising inflation levels. However, Head of Center for Economics and Public Policy Studies Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta, Tony Prasetiantono said that there are other things that the government should focus on foreign debt and the ability of Indonesian imports, because until now, the level of inflation in Indonesia has still been under control or has not experienced a significant increase.

“Inflation still seems not too high. Therefore once again, if you count from mathematics from 13,500 to 14,000, it's still small. I just think that is not our concern, because beyond the factor of inflation, we must be concerned on payment of foreign debt, and then our ability to import becomes weak.” Tony Prasetiantono said in a discussion held by a private radio in Jakarta recently.

In response to the impact of rupiah weakening against the US dollar on the real sector, Tony Prasetiantono remarked that the sector is still running well and does not have a significant influence, because nowadays, the producers tend to spend their stock of goods by selling to consumers using the old price. In addition, the producers will not raise the price of goods in the near future to anticipate the fall in demand from consumers that will actually harm them. (VOI/Rezha/RHM)