Friday, March 28, 2008

Economy News

A discussion at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Friday tipped Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati as the strongest candidates to head the central bank.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held talks with current Bank Indonesia Governor Burhanuddin Abdullah, Boediono, Sri Mulyani, former BI governors, experts, media members and businesspeople on possible candidates to replace Burhanudin, whose term ends May 17.

The experts included top bank commissioners such as Cyrillus Harinowo, Chairul Tanjung and Edwin Gerungan, JP Morgan Indonesia president director Gita Wirjawan, Credit Suisse Indonesia head of research Mirza Adityaswara and one of Indonesia’s richest men, Budi Hartono, the president commissioner of clove cigarette producer Djarum.

“We talked about the criteria that should be fulfilled by candidates. Among the criteria are integrity, capability and acceptability,” State Secretary Hatta Radjasa told reporters after the meeting.

“Some of those attending the discussion proposed names, but some others only gave their views.”

Hatta quoted those attending the discussion as saying, “Pak SBY, we don’t need to go far to find the most appropriate candidates. We have them in this room, people in the Cabinet.”

“There were only three ministers in the room,” he said, referring to himself, Boediono and Sri Mulyani. “So, make your own conclusion.”

Credit Suisse Indonesia’s Mirza told reporters he was one of those that recommended Boediono as the next BI governor.

The House of Representatives on March 18 rejected the President’s first two candidates for central bank governor, Bank Mandiri president director Agus Martowardojo and PT Perusahaan Pengelola Aset vice president Raden Pardede.

So far, the House has yet to offer a formal reason for the rejection. However, some lawmakers have said a candidate from within the central bank is preferred to ensure independence.

Others believe an outsider is needed given that a number of current top Bank Indonesia are being scrutinized for allegedly bribing House members during the formulation of a new law on the central bank from 2003 to 2004.

State Secretary Hatta said the President would submit the names of the new candidates to the House of Representatives next week.
Ministers tipped to head BI

“We are facing tougher challenges in the future because of the global economic woes. So we need a figure who is able to cope with that and at the same time maintain local economic stability,” Burhanuddin said.

Speaking separately Friday, Vice President Jusuf Kalla expressed optimism the House would accept the new candidates proposed by the President because their selection had involved many parties.

“We are upbeat looking at ongoing preparations that there will be agreement with the House of Representatives over the candidates for Bank Indonesia governor,” said Kalla, who is also chairman of the biggest party in the House, Golkar.

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