Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday met with State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir in Jakarta to discuss the government's 2024-2034 roadmap that aims to slash the number of Indonesian SOEs to just 30.
The Indonesian government is currently preparing a 2024-2034 roadmap that is expected to slash the number of SOEs from 41 (as of January) to just 30 across 12 clusters. The government not long ago merged state-run bus company Perum PPD and public transportation operator Damri. More mergers are expected to come in the coming years as Indonesia proceeds with the roadmap.
"Tony Blair and I discussed the 2024-2034 [SOE] roadmap. He would like to know more about the plans. Blair hopes Indonesia will continue doing what's already great. And improve what still needs work. But [such improvements] would call for great leadership and system. He asked what would happen to the plan with the change [of government or ministers]," Erick told reporters shortly after he met with Blair in Jakarta on Friday.
"I told [Blair] that as long as we could execute the 2024-2034 roadmap well, despite the change [of government or ministers], things will go as planned. We have already merged Perum PPD and Damri. Going forward, we will look for [more SOEs] that we can synergize," Erick said.
Erick also told the press that combining different SOEs into one did not mean that people would lose their jobs. According to Erick, neither the 2021 merger of Indonesia's state-owned port operators Pelindo nor the digitalization of state-run banks caused any layoffs. He added that these changes only made the entities recruit more people.
"Indonesia's economy grows at an average of 5 percent annually. Some areas can have better efficiency without having to cut down on employees. When we slash the number of banking branches, we deploy the manpower to become marketers," Erick said.
According to Chief Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto, Blair is scheduled to meet President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Saturday. Indonesia's new capital city Nusantara is likely to be high on the agenda in the meeting with Jokowi as Blair is part of the advisory board for the megaproject.