Indonesia’s Jokowi keeps finance minister with rock star appeal, Sri Mulyani, in new cabinet
- After meeting Widodo, Sri Mulyani – a no-nonsense yet charismatic former World Bank managing director – said she had agreed to stay on and ensure policies supported the president’s priorities
- She was Indonesia’s finance minister from 2005 to 2010 under president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono before resigning amid a quarrel with fellow minister and close presidential aide Aburizal Bakrie
Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday she had been asked by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to stay on in her post as his new cabinet takes shape for a second five-year term in office.
The candidates – all wearing white shirts – have come to the presidential palace to be interviewed by Widodo, with most declining to confirm the positions offered ahead of an official announcement expected on Wednesday.
After meeting Widodo, Sri Mulyani said she had agreed to stay on as finance minister and to ensure policies supported the president’s priorities such as improving human resources, creating jobs and executing government budgets well.
“Indonesia I think is facing a very dynamic and uncertain global economy and an economic slowdown that is pressuring the whole world,” she said.
“Therefore, a continued policy is needed in order to be able to guard our economy from the challenge of this global slowdown,” she said, noting she also discussed ways to narrow Indonesia’s current account and trade deficits.
Sri Mulyani, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016, spearheading tax reform efforts, seeking to capitalise on a tax amnesty programme in 2016-2017. She is now one of the longest serving finance ministers in Indonesia, having also held the post in the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“Sri Mulyani is seen as a key architect behind the fiscal discipline in recent years and many wish for her continued leadership in driving deeper fiscal reforms,” Bank of America wrote in a note.
Other ministerial candidates who came to the palace on Tuesday included Basuki Hadimuljono, who is credited with driving infrastructure projects as public works minister in Widodo’s first term, and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, environment minister in the first term.
Speaking to media ahead of his inauguration on Sunday, Widodo said around 16 ministers in the new cabinet would come from political parties out of an anticipated 34 posts.