Indonesia’s power transition talks on schedule

Jakarta – Indonesian outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and president-elect Joko Widodo were scheduled to have a meeting aimed at smoothing transfer of power as energy subsidy issue would likely to highlight in the meeting.

The upcoming meeting, scheduled on the island of Bali on Wednesday, was to follow up Yudhoyono’s pledge that he would gladly help his successor to ease the power transition between his government and Joko Widodo’s.

Entering his presidency service, the Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is facing tough problem with energy subsidy, particularly for fuel, which has been set higher by Yudhoyono in the 2015 state budget.

In its official parliamentary speech, Yudhoyono allocated fuel subsidy at 291.1 trillion rupiah (about 24.8 billion U.S. dollars) for 2015, higher than 246.5 trillion rupiah (about 21 billion U.S. dollars) set for this year.

Many have feared that Joko Widodo would not have ample fiscal space to finance his development programs with such a huge subsidy allocation. An option to increase the price of subsidized fuel would be imminent to solve the problem.

During his campaign period, Joko Widodo promised to support empowerment programs for the people such as a health insurance card, promote education for the poor, banks for farmers and fishermen, toll roads above the sea and many other projects.

Jerry Sumampouw, coordinator of Joko Widodo’s Transition Committee, a task force to select eligible ministers to serve in Joko Widodo’s cabinet, said it is essential for Yudhoyono to make a “breakthrough” in the 2015 budget so as to synchronize the works of ministers serving in the new government.

“So they can immediately run the programs shortly after the installment (of the new president),” Jerry said on Monday.

Joko Widodo is scheduled to be sworn-in on Oct. 20. Source: Xinhua