Widodo attends to social issues first

Jakarta – A close aide to Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo said on Tuesday that he and his running mate Jusuf Kalla would create the social security net first before deciding to increase the price of subsidized fuel to ease the state budget burden.

Rini Soemarno, head of the power transition team at Joko Widodo camp said the president-elect team is analyzing the national economy before possibly increasing the fuel price in Joko Widodo’s early period governing the nation.

“We have to have the exact data on poverty numbers and the pre- welfare society so as to create a proper social safety net program,” Rini, who is a former trade and industry minister, said at the team’s meeting with vice president Boediono.

She said the efforts were aimed at assuring the government to be able to provide a cushion program should the fuel price be increased.

“We don’t want to see a fuel price hike policy having bad effects to the people. We want to see that the policy is able to increase  prosperity,” she said.

Joko Widodo’s pending government is facing serious issues with the increasing of a fuel subsidy in the 2015 state budget allocated by the outgoing administration which had raised the allocation from 21 billion U.S. dollars this year to 24 billion U.S. Dollars next year.

Analysts said Joko Widodo has no ample fiscal space to finance his programs with such a huge amount of subsidy.

Increasing the price of subsidized fuel is inevitable in Joko’s administration as it would the most viable solution to address the issue.

Joko Widodo won the presidential election after the Constitution Court (MK) reaffirmed his victory in the July 9 election.

Joko Widodo is scheduled to be sworn-in as the nation’s president on Oct. 20.