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Too many holidays bad for business: Economist

Jakarta Globe - May 19, 2024

Juan Ardya Guardiola, Jakarta – Indonesia's economic productivity is lagging behind its neighbors due to too many government-approved holidays each year, an economist said on Saturday.

The government has announced 27 national holidays for this year alone, mostly related to religious events. By comparison, Vietnam has only 13 national holidays, said Eko Listiyanto from the Jakarta-based Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef).

"Having too many holidays is certainly not good for the industrial sector and businesses. I think the government needs to review the large number of national holidays," Eko said.

Investors take into consideration a country's total number of holidays before making big decisions, Eko added.

However, Eko admitted that finding the balance between business interests and the deep-rooted culture that forms the basis for stipulating national holidays isn't an easy task.

"Indonesia has diverse cultures and religions that make it unique among other nations. Every religion has its own holidays shared by the whole nation, so we cannot compare with other countries," Eko said.

Every year, the government issues the so-called communal holidays for civil servants to add another day off for a workday between a national holiday and the weekend. These extended holidays, which don't reduce civil servants' annual leave, are aimed at supporting the tourism industry.

"The challenge is how the government can introduce a national holiday policy that maintains national productivity and our competitiveness against other countries," Eko said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/too-many-holidays-bad-for-business-economis