Aichi Halik, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has reprimanded State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno and Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan for the trade deficit Indonesia recorded in the first five months of this year.
"Our trade balance from January to May was $2.14 billion in the red. Let's take a careful look where these numbers came from – from higher oil and gas imports. Be careful, energy and mineral resources minister and state-owned enterprises minister, because much of [the deficit] was caused by [your ministries]," Jokowi said during a cabinet meeting in Bogor, West Java, on Monday.
Citing Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data, the president said the country's exports declined 8.6 percent year-on-year in the first five months, while imports dropped 9.2 percent.
He called on all ministers to look for any opportunities where Indonesia can benefit from the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, adding that the textile and furniture industries are among those that can benefit most from this.
"The government should offer incentives to each industry that exploits these opportunities. If we do not provide small and big exporters with special incentives, it will be difficult for them to penetrate new markets," Jokowi said.