tv Bloombergs Studio 1.0 Bloomberg October 28, 2017 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT
haslinda: indonesia's president joko widodo has pledged to remake every inch. it is one of 10 areas. that means infrastructure like airports and roads, including some of the 1000 kilometers of national toll roads. adding to the challenge, the fact that indonesia sprawls across 17,000 islands and is home to several live volcanoes, including one place where people were recently re-house after an eruption. jokowi has implemented a raft of business reforms. over the next 30 minutes, we check in on the progress of his
vision. three years into your presidency, do you think you have fulfilled your promise to bring growth and prosperity to this nation of 250 million people? president widodo: indonesia is a big country with a total population of 250 million people. we want, of course, all leaders would like to bring prosperity to the people. our economic growth, i think it is good. it is slightly above 5%. a country of this size with such growth, i think it is good.
indeed the biggest problem is slowing global growth, so the expansion of our exports is limited, and secondly commodity prices are declining. this is affecting growth in indonesia a bit. haslinda: 5% growth last year, slightly above 5% this year. that is the estimate. when you came to power, you were targeting 7% growth. that seems to be elusive. is it fair to say we can forget about 7% growth now? is it unrealistic? president widodo: i said earlier it is because of the global economy that is declining, however we will keep pursuing it because what is economic growth related to? expansion in jobs, improvement in people's income. i am sure when the global economy normalizes and improves
, indonesia's economy will grow as well because our markets will be bigger. that is our target. haslinda: when we last spoke two years ago, you wanted interest rates to fall, fall, fall, your words. you cut rates six times last year and again in august. our interest rates -- are interest rates where you want them to be? president widodo: we cannot interfere with bank indonesia, indonesia's central bank. we can only see how we can ensure inflation is at a low level. in 2015, our inflation was 3.35%. in 2017 it is still below 4%. it means if inflation is low, the bank interest rates should be able to go down, but that is not my territory. that is the territory of bank
indonesia, the central bank. haslinda: would you like rates to go lower than 4.25%? president widodo: of course, as a former businessman i would be happy if interest rates would go down. all businessmen are always happy if bank interest rates go down, down, down. why? it means costs will continue to be lower, and they will have better competitiveness against other countries. of course, everyone is happy. businessmen are happy. there is business expansion. it means an expansion in the labor market. why not? haslinda: the repair is pretty weak, and investors are concerned about weakness. should they be? is that a reflection in how
investors are not buying into the indonesia growth story? president widodo: indonesia has jumped from 8th to 4th position for investment destination. secondly, our global competitiveness is also getting much better. previously we were 41st, this year we jumped to 36th. it means every year we are always improving. for ease of doing business, we moved from 120 to 106. we are now in 90 first place. 1st place. we are always improving.
the investment climate in indonesia it always been a better. investors come because the investment climate is always getting better. haslinda: having said that, if we take a look at what has been happening, investors are concerned about the growth story, about the rupier. what are they getting wrong? president widodo: i think it is normal that portfolio investment comes and goes. the most important thing is that the composite index is rising. take a look. it continues to rise. i'm still optimistic investors still see indonesia as the best investment destination, one of the best choices. haslinda: yet. yet, companies like ford, exxon mobil, they are pulling out of indonesia.
they have said they do not want to renew the contract because the contract is not working in its favor. president widodo: that doesn't show whether indonesia is a good investment destination or not. haslinda: why aren't you worried that these big companies -- president widodo: i know. sometimes there are problems outside our control. it could be the global economy, or they want to see other countries that are more profitable. once again, we always try to improve our investment climate. i'm still optimistic that indonesia is seen as one of the best investment destinations. ♪ haslinda: indonesia's joko widodo wants more tourists to
president widodo: it is my big dream. i want it to be the new bali in indonesia. haslinda: why? you already have a bali. president widodo: because of the potential. it should be developed into a new tourism destination. haslinda: it is one of 10 locations you have identified? president widodo: yes. this is one of the 10 new bali's we are developing. we will build the infrastructure and increase promotion. haslinda: when i came here about seven or eight years ago, it was
very difficult. it took six hours by road. how easy will it be to get here? president widodo: we have built an airport, expanded the terminal. there were no planes serving here, but now there are flights -- five flights a day. we hope this will continue to grow. there are many tourists who visit lake toba. infrastructure is very important. now, a flight from the dan to lake toba only takes 25 minutes. there is also a flight from jakarta. haslinda: that is really ambitious. tourists account for about 20% of gdp.
how soon will you get there? president widodo: for at least four to five years, we will continue to focus on improvement because beautiful places like this should be made useful. likewise, the local culture should also be drawn upon to benefit the community. haslinda: is it difficult to make a dream a reality? president widodo: start with good infrastructure then improved promotion, and third we will promote things related to the arts and culture. ♪ >> indonesia is a big country. all leaders must want to bring
prosperity to the people. our biggest vision is to work on the foundation. this is very important, upgrading the infrastructure, fixing the infrastructure, and building the infrastructure. in the next stage, we want to build our human resources. that is our focus. haslinda: you have always maintained that you attract foreign investment. you want to open up the country to foreign investors, yet some say that you have limited -- implemented protectionist policies. if you speak to the u.s. trade officials, they will say there are concerns about some of the policies implemented, especially the nontariff measures imposed on things like corn. president widodo: of course, indonesia's national interest
must remain the number one priority, but to say indonesia is protectionist, it is not. i say indonesia is open. indonesia welcomes visitors because i have said we want openness and competitiveness. that is it. we have opened -- i think it is not one, two, or three, but it shows that indonesia is open. haslinda: what reforms can we expect over the next few years? what will be your priority? president widodo: we will keep opening more sectors for foreigners to invest their capital, their investment in indonesia. it is true that our concentration is still related to those in the manufacturing
and cinema industries. why not? later, the creative industry. i think there are so many. what is also important is the issue of tourism and travel. haslinda: which country is becoming important to indonesia in terms of investment? china has tripled its direct investment into indonesia to the tune of about $2.7 billion. is china becoming a very important partner for you? president widodo: all are important. america is important. japan is important. china is important. south korea is important. the middle east is important. europe is important. all of them. we welcome all countries.
we are not prioritizing certain countries. no. actually, what we want right now is investment in labor-intensive industry and making raw material into semi finished product or finished product. that is our direction. haslinda: is there concerns about the amount of chinese money in the country? people have come out to say they are concerned about that, chinese labor in the country. president widodo: it is a business to business matter. indonesian businessmen connect with japanese businessmen. indonesian businessmen connect with chinese businessmen. indonesian businessman with middle east businessman. why not? go ahead.
♪ haslinda: one of the issues that recently cropped up is the religious intolerance. one of the latest reports suggests there has been an increase of 50% when it comes to religious intolerance. is that something that keeps you up at night? president widodo: no. i think those figures need to be seen in more detail. islam in indonesia is a tolerant islam, a pluralist islam, a moderate islam.
i think people should see that, that there will be small problems. i think a country the size of indonesia with 250 million people, 17,000 islands, 714 ethnic groups, it is a huge country. haslinda: and yet despite the fact that moderate islam is in indonesia's dna, we saw religion play a big part in the jakarta elections. surely it must be a concern. surely it is something you need to look at. president widodo: that is not a religious issue. it was a political issue. it is different. the issue in the jakarta governor election was an issue of politics, not an issue of religion. islam in indonesia is a tolerant
islam, a pluralistic islam, a modern islam, a moderate islam. haslinda: there have been suggestions that perhaps the religious schools may be producing some of those people who end up going to syria, for instance, to join the islamic state. if you take a look at the data, the statistics, there are about 1000 of them, and 500 have gone to syria to fight for the islamic state. what are your views on that? president widodo: the muslim population in indonesia is a -- approximately 220 million. if some 400 people to syria, that is how many percent? out of the 220 million muslims in indonesia, it is fractional.
haslinda: it only takes one person to cause devastation. president widodo: even though it is only one or two people, it is still important for us to do what we call a de-radicalization program. we give a good understanding of true religious value. we give them a good understanding of the national values. our approach is hard power with legal enforcement and law. we also have soft power with a religious, sociocultural approach. we will continue doing it. haslinda: you don't see a risk of those returning from syria, no risk to indonesia, no risk to southeast asia? president widodo: i think no. haslinda: so you get sleep well
at night? president widodo: please do sleep well. haslinda: are you taking steps to make sure that the risk is eradicated? president widodo: we are implementing de-radicalization programs. we also have a hard and soft power approach. both go hand in hand. we have clear programs. haslinda: what role do you see indonesia playing five or 10 years down the road given that it is the largest economy in southeast asia and one of the largest in asia? president widodo: if the aforementioned development of infrastructure and human resources can be completed well, i think that is when indonesia can play a role in asia and the world. my concentration is still on domestic issues.
haslinda: three years into your presidency, two years ago, are you planning to run for the next election? president widodo: i am now just concentrating on the job, the task people have entrusted to do, monitoring infrastructure, controlling infrastructure, checking the indonesia health card, smart card, and checking the family hopes program and rural funds. they must be checked. must be controlled. regarding the upcoming presidential election, i will leave it to the people. haslinda: isn't it true given the massive challenges you are facing now in the massive projects you would like to implement, another five years would not hurt? president widodo: if i stay in
the position of working as planned, i will focus on that. we expect the programs to be completed, but if they are not finished, the programs can be continued in the next period by whomever the ministers are. haslinda: what do you think has been your biggest achievement and your biggest disappointment? president widodo: firstly, switching subsidies from petrol to sector such as infrastructure, education, and health programs for disadvantaged families. that is the first thing. secondly, amnesty.
in this tax amnesty declaration was reported around $370 billion. that is a very big number. it is around 38% of our gdp. we hope that later our tax-base can be bigger. haslinda: in terms of political challenges, what are the biggest ones for you? president widodo: right now, all parties are concentrated on the upcoming 2019 presidential election. go ahead. for me, i will be concentrating on work. ♪ haslinda: thank you. ♪