Candidate announcement good for investment: Indonesian Minister

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Potential investors have ended their wait-and-see stance following the announcement of two pairs of candidates for presidential election in 2019.

With two pairs of presidential candidates announced, investors now have a clearer picture of the country’s economic and political landscape and therefore are expected to be more willing to take risks, a senior minister has said.

“The advantage is that investors now know the candidates. That will end the wait-and-see [stance of prospective investors],” Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said in Jakarta on Friday.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday picked Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate, while his rival, Prabowo Subianto, picked Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno, who was seeking resignation, as his vice presidential candidate.

Jokowi and Prabowo will enter a rematch in next year’s presidential election.

More certainty in national politics, Darmin said, would support the government’s efforts to improve the economy, including reducing imports and encouraging exports to narrow the current account deficit and to relieve the rupiah of external pressure stemming primarily from the US Federal Reserve’s plan to hike its interest rate.

The policies include the expanded use of 20 percent biodiesel blend ( B20 ), which is expected to start next month and save the government US$5.9 billion in foreign exchange annually due to lower fuel imports.

Given the ongoing structural reforms, Darmin was upbeat that investment growth would reach 7 percent in the second half of 2018. “We are optimistic that investment will [return] to the 7 percent figure,” he said.

Investment growth was subdued at 5.87 percent year-on-year during the second quarter, according to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data, lower than yoy growth of 7.43 percent in the previous three quarters.

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