Indonesia Update: November 11, 2018

Indonesia Update | November 11, 2018
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Artha Sirait, Ian Saccomanno and Bryan Yeoh
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Indonesia Slides in the Ease of Doing Business Index

The World Bank’s 2019 Ease of Doing Business Index saw Indonesia slide down from number 72 to number 73. Indonesia’s rankings puts it behind other ASEAN neighbors such as Singapore (2), Malaysia (15), Thailand (27) and Brunei (55). Under President Jokowi, Indonesia’s ranking has improved from 120 in 2014 to a record low of 72 in 2018. President Jokowi in the past emphasized the importance of Indonesia improving its Ease of Doing Business ranking and even stated his target of elevating Indonesia to number 40 in the rankings. However, changes in President Jokowi’s priorities as he prepares to mount a reelection campaign in 2019 has temporarily sidelined more extensive reform efforts. Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Thomas Lembong recently stated to the media that the government has lost its focus in improving the ease of doing business in Indonesia. He urged the government to carry out a comprehensive review process, because Indonesia will be left behind by investors as other countries work towards improving their business environment. This is the second time Lembong has criticized the government as the third quarter of 2018 saw a decline in foreign investment.

The 2019 report noted that Indonesia achieved progress in reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies to start a new business by combining procedures, reducing fees and establishing a one-stop shop. In addition, Indonesia also reduced time to solve land disputes and enhanced transparency of the land registry. Indonesia also improved access to credit information by distributing data from retailers and utility companies. While the report did not report any major negatives, larger relative improvements by other countries saw Indonesia’s ranking fall by one spot.

Indonesia’s Q3 Growth

Indonesia’s statistics bureau released a statement on November 5 stating that Indonesia’s GDP grew at 5.17 percent in the third quarter of the year. This represented a 0.1 percent decrease from the second quarter 5.27 percent growth. Indonesia’s GDP growth has hovered around the 5 percent mark throughout most of President Jokowi’s presidency, nowhere near the 7 percent goal that the president had set at the start of his term.

The slowdown in the third quarter has been attributed to lower household consumption and weakened foreign trade. Analysts have pointed to exports as a key drag on growth over the next year with depressed coal and palm oil prices. According to Indonesia’s statistics bureau chief, Suhariyanto, declining non-oil and gas commodity prices as well as slower growth in main trading partners like China and Singapore are key factors in explaining Indonesia’s negative foreign trade in the third quarter. He also noted that the global economy is showing a tendency in slowing down which is reflected in the activity of Indonesia’s trading partners.

Indonesia’s weakening currency is also expected to dampen future growth. The Indonesian Rupiah is currently the second worst performing currency among emerging Asian markets after a sell-off of Indonesian assets in September following reports of widening current account deficit caused the rupiah to tumble. Indonesia’s central bank has raised interest rates five times since May to help prop up the Rupiah.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani had informed Parliament in October that the 2018 growth rate is more likely to be 5.14 percent as opposed to the official GDP growth target of 5.4 percent.

Indonesia Cancels Cigarette Tax Plans

On October 2, the Indonesian government canceled its plan to increase excise tax for tobacco and tobacco products in 2019. The plan had proposed to increase excise tax at around 10 percent. Last year, Indonesia’s House of Representatives proposed a draft law on the production, distribution and excise taxes on tobacco. The draft law among others would have required domestic producers to use local tobacco for a minimum of 80 percent; and introduced an excise tax of 200 percent on both local and imported tobacco products. The goal was to increase domestic cigarette production by 2020. Legislation making process in Indonesia for such draft law requires the support of not only the House of Representatives, but also the government. The draft law on tobacco did not gain enough support from the government and therefore did not proceed further; the status of the draft is currently not clear.

The cancelation has been met with mixed reaction from the public. Industry stakeholders welcomed the government’s cancellation of the tax, citing pressure from Jakarta’s 10-11 percent increase of the tobacco excise every year since 2014. The government’s plan to simplify tobacco taxation has also been postponed. Currently, different excise taxes are imposed on different tobacco products. Clove cigarettes are charged a 10.9 percent tax, tobacco cigarettes are charged 13.5 percent and handmade cigarettes are charged 7.3 percent.

Indonesia’s tobacco tax contribution to the country’s coffers have increased by around 10 percent. Indonesia is the fourth largest cigarette-producing nation in the world. In addition to providing employment for millions of Indonesians, the industry is a significant contributor to the national tax revenue. The government targets IDR165.5 trillion from the tobacco excise in 2019 which represents a 6.5 percent increase from 2018.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
National Affairs
BREAKING: 189 people on downed Lion Air flight, ministry says
Inside the government-run war room fighting Indonesian fake news
Jakarta aims to increase voter turnout in 2019 general election
Minister proposes 8.13% rise in minimum wage

Customs
E-commerce players to be required to obtain tax numbers
Indonesia plans to complete 13 trade agreements
Jokowi launches 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia
Export level hasn’t met expectations: Minister

Defense & Security
Naval Visit Spotlights Indonesia-Philippines Maritime Ties
Indonesia’s anti-terror law: crisis to consensus
South Korea says fighter jet deal with Indonesia is on track,...
Indonesia to Renegotiate Fighter Jet Deal With South Korea to Ease Forex Burden
Indonesia-Australia Defense Ties in Focus With Ministerial Meeting

Economics
Indonesia's GDP growth slows in Q3 amid weaker exports
Government sees lower deficit in September
Indonesia’s competitiveness improves, but still well below Singapore, Malaysia

Energy
Indonesia imposes mandatory use of B20 biodiesel in drive to cut fuel bill: deputy minister
Indonesia does not need to import gas until 2027 at current demand growth rate, says official
Pertamina, Aramco to meet on refinery project next week
US Cleaning Supplies Firm To Open Blockchain Rewards-Based Recycling Centers in Indonesia
Duri-Dumai gas pipeline to be commissioned on Nov. 4
Indonesia’s Pertamina Looks To Buy Crude, Gasoline In Rupiah
Indonesia's Pertamina aims to reduce spending in U.S. dollar
China-backed hydro dam in Indonesia threatens world's rarest orangutan
Green Climate Fund approves $100m Indonesia Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation Project
Schneider Electric donates 1,000 portable solar lamps to PMI for Palu
International financial agencies confirm their support of geothermal development in Indonesia
Indonesia expects to add 95 MW of additional geothermal capacity this year
Wind, Sun to Strand $60 Billion of Coal Assets in Southeast Asia

Financial Services
MAS, Bank Indonesia set up US$10 billion bilateral financial arrangement
Indonesia: Insurance regulator calls for new ideas to grow industry
Alipay, WeChat pursuing partnership path to enter Indonesian market: BI
Indonesia Among World's Most Underinsured Countries
OJK's fintech sandbox
President rebukes minister, state insurer over health insurance deficit

Food & Agriculture
BPOM officially labels condensed milk a dairy product but disclaimer required
Minister says 188,000 ha distributed in land reform program
Agriculture Ministry says its data on rice production valid
BPS announces new rice data with 2.85m ton surplus
Aquaculture expected to supply 60 percent of fish consumption in 2019

Health & Life Sciences
Indonesia to lead global fight against pandemic zoonoses
Economist criticizes government's backtracking on cigarette excise
Less than 1,000 psychiatrists for 260 million Indonesians
Indonesia prioritizes health in national development
Digital revolution making waves in Indonesia’s healthcare industry
Mixed reaction greets cancelled plan to hike cigarette tax
Doctors association calls for medical audit on national health insurance
Stigma, discrimination hamper leprosy eradication
FAO calls for urgent action to fight hunger, malnutrition in Indonesia
Pharma companies still dependent on imported APIs, says ministry

ICT
Indonesia to launch startup database as reference for digital industry development
Jokowi wants more unicorns to emerge
Government to support e-sports tournaments
Jokowi urges local govt to tech-up
Bekasi residents queue before dawn for e-ID card tickets
Chris Kanter appointed Indosat president director
Ministry prepares two draft regulations on ride-hailing apps
Data center competition heats up in Southeast Asia

Infrastructure
 Government plans fare cut for Palembang LRT to attract passengers
Indonesia, JICA sign deal on loan for MRT Phase II project
Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Lion Air crash
Second Sulawesi wind farm project near completion
Don't use Village Fund to develop infrastructure: Jokowi
Hyflux seeks ‘super priority’ for rescue financing from Indonesian investors
Indonesia's transport ministry orders removal of Lion Air technical director after deadly crash
Trans-Java toll road to connect Merak in Banten to Surabaya
INDONESIA TO REVIEW CHINA’S BELT AND ROAD PROJECTS IF PRABOWO BEATS WIDODO IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Hyflux to get S$530m lifeline from Indonesia's Salim, Medco groups

Manufacturing
BI sees slowdown in manufacturing expansion in Q4
While waiting for production certificate, N219 plane gets 120 orders

Travel & Tourism
AirAsia launches first Lake Toba flight
Garuda introduces new business class
WTM 2018: South-east Asia bouncing back
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
National Affairs

BREAKING: 189 people on downed Lion Air flight, ministry says The Jakarta Post 29th Oct 2018
A downed Lion Air plane that took off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta for Pangkalpinang in Bangka Belitung was carrying 181 passengers, including three minors, a spokesperson at the Transportation Ministry said on Monday.

Inside the government-run war room fighting Indonesian fake news South China Morning Post 25th Oct 2018
Indonesia has established an army of engineers aimed at containing the spread of hoaxes and fake news ahead of the presidential election next year. More than 187 million people are expected to cast their votes when the country goes to the polls on April 17. With six months of campaigning left, a deluge of political and social narratives – true and false – are being distributed to shape voters’ views.

Jakarta aims to increase voter turnout in 2019 general election The Jakarta Post 24th Oct 2018
The Jakarta administration has set a target for voter turnout in the capital in the 2019 general election to be more than 76 percent, the turnout of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections.

Minister proposes 8.13% rise in minimum wage The Jakarta Post 18th Oct 2018
Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri has proposed an 8.13 percent rise in the provincial minimum wage (UMP) for 2019, saying an increase of that amount was based on data issued by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) on inflation of 2.88 percent and economic growth of 5.15 percent.

Customs

E-commerce players to be required to obtain tax numbers The Jakarta Post 26th Oct 2018
The government has long planned to collect taxes from e-commerce companies, but officials have hinted that the Finance Ministry will not issue a specific regulation on the digital business anytime soon.

Indonesia plans to complete 13 trade agreements The Jakarta Post 25th Oct 2018
The Indonesian government is seeking to complete 13 trade agreements with other countries and trade organizations in an attempt to boost its exports amid the trade war between China and the United States, which has seen a trend toward global trade protectionism.

Jokowi launches 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia The Jakarta Post 24th Oct 2018
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Wednesday launched the 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition in Tangerang, Banten, on Wednesday.

Export level hasn’t met expectations: Minister The Jakarta Post 16th Oct 2018
Although the country booked a trade surplus of US$230 million in September, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said exports had not met the government’s expectations.

Defense & Security

Naval Visit Spotlights Indonesia-Philippines Maritime Ties The Diplomat 26th Oct 2018
On October 22, an Indonesian Navy vessel arrived for a scheduled goodwill visit to the Philippines. While the interaction was just one of many within the wider relationship, it nonetheless spotlighted the ongoing activity among both Southeast Asian states in the maritime realm. Indonesia and the Philippines, both founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and situated in maritime Southeast Asia, have long sought collaboration on common security challenges, from terrorism to piracy. One of the aspects of security collaboration is in the maritime realm. Maritime collaboration includes not only exchanges, visits, and patrols between the two sides designed to tackle shared challenges, including trilateral patrols in the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea, but also equipment transfer as Indonesia looks for export markets for its domestic defense industry and the Philippines looks to boost its military capabilities.

Indonesia’s anti-terror law: crisis to consensus The Interpreter 25th Oct 2018
On 25 May 2018, less than two weeks after a series of suicide bombings and armed attacks on churches and police posts in East Java and Sumatra, Indonesia passed a revised anti-terrorism law. The Surabaya attacks, which included suicide bombings by mothers and their young children, shocked both the public and the nation’s political leaders. The attacks had been preceded by a 36-hour hostage siege at the headquarters for Indonesian National Police (POLRI) Mobile Brigade in south Jakarta, where Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) extremists executed five officers. These were unprecedented developments for Indonesia. Each presented a disturbing shift in the modus operandi of violent extremists and an escalation of ISIS-linked threat. The attacks awoke the nation to the fact that women were not just participants in countering and preventing violent extremism, but increasingly were active perpetrators.

South Korea says fighter jet deal with Indonesia is on track,... Reuters 22nd Oct 2018
South Korea said on Monday a project to develop a fighter jet with Indonesia was on track, and it will negotiate a way for Indonesia to pay its contribution, of which about $200 million is unpaid. Indonesia and South Korea agreed in 2014 to develop the “KF-X” fighter jet. The project is estimated to be worth about $7.9 billion, and Indonesia had agreed to pay 20 percent of the development costs, but a senior Indonesia official said on Friday it was seeking “lighter” financial terms. South Korea’s arms procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) told a press briefing the project was on track. “During the South Korea-Indonesia summit in September, it was agreed to continue developing the KF-X,” the spokesman said.

Indonesia to Renegotiate Fighter Jet Deal With South Korea to Ease Forex Burden U.S. News and Weekly 20th Oct 2018
Indonesia is seeking "lighter" financial terms in a renegotiated project with South Korea to jointly develop a mid-level fighter jet, in a move aimed at supporting the rupiah by reducing use of the country's foreign exchange reserves, a senior Indonesian official said. The Indonesian government has rolled out a number of policies to support the ailing rupiah, which include cutting energy imports and delaying a number of infrastructure projects, as the currency trades near a 20-year low. "Due to national economic condition, the president has decided to renegotiate to make Indonesia's position lighter for matters related to funding," chief security minister Wiranto said in a statement published on the ministry's official website on Friday.

Indonesia-Australia Defense Ties in Focus With Ministerial Meeting The Diplomat 17th Oct 2018
Last week, Indonesia and Australia held a defense ministers’ meeting. The interaction, which is one of several that underpin the current shape of bilateral defense ties, put the focus on the developing security relationship between two significant and capable actors in the Indo-Pacific region. Indonesia and Australia, two neighboring, significant, and highly capable actors in the Indo-Pacific, have had a turbulent relationship historically speaking but have also made some inroads in recent years in their defense ties in spite of occasional tensions and crises, which continue to occur from time to time. That collaboration on the defense side has continued into 2018 as well in spite of some wider domestic and regional challenges. These include the change in Australian leadership in late August that saw Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull give way to Scott Morrison, as well as the recent speculation – subsequently denied – that an Australian effort to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel may imperil ongoing talks on a trade deal between the two sides.

Economics

Indonesia's GDP growth slows in Q3 amid weaker exports The Straits Times 6th Nov 2018
Indonesia's economic growth slowed in the third quarter, losing momentum from the previous three months and pointing to tougher conditions for the South-east Asian economy, which has struggled with capital outflows and weaker exports and household spending.

Government sees lower deficit in September The Jakarta Post 17th Oct 2018
The Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday that the state budget deficit declined in September to Rp 200.23 trillion (US$13.2 billion), equivalent to 1.35 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Indonesia’s competitiveness improves, but still well below Singapore, Malaysia The Jakarta Post 17th Oct 2018
Under the newly introduced Global Competitiveness Index 4.0, Indonesia has a score of 64.9 points and is ranked at 45th, up two places compared to the previous index.

Energy

Indonesia imposes mandatory use of B20 biodiesel in drive to cut fuel bill: deputy minister Reuters 31st Oct 2018
Indonesia has enforced mandatory use of diesel containing 20 percent locally produced biofuel amid steps to rein in its fuel bill and cushion the impact on its economy of a currency crisis and higher oil prices, a government official told Reuters.

Indonesia does not need to import gas until 2027 at current demand growth rate, says official EnergyWorld 30th Oct 2018
Indonesia will not need to import any gas until at least 2027 if its average gas demand growth rate is maintained at just over 1 per cent, the country's vice minister of energy and mineral resources said on Tuesday.

Pertamina, Aramco to meet on refinery project next week The Jakarta Post 29th Oct 2018
State-owned oil and gas holding company Pertamina president director Nicke Widyawati has said the company will continue its negotiations with the management of Saudi Aramco on the fate of the revitalization of oil refinery facilities in Cilacap, Central Java.

US Cleaning Supplies Firm To Open Blockchain Rewards-Based Recycling Centers in Indonesia CoinTelegraph 29th Oct 2018
U.S. manufacturer of household cleaning supplies SC Johnson and environmental organization Plastic Bank will open several plastic recycling centers in Indonesia, offering locals tokens for waste collection, according to a press release published Sunday, Oct. 28.

Duri-Dumai gas pipeline to be commissioned on Nov. 4 The Jakarta Post 29th Oct 2018
The US$76 million Duri-Dumai gas transmission pipeline, which is a joint project between state gas firm PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) and its parent company, state energy holding company Pertamina, will be commissioned on Nov 4.

Indonesia’s Pertamina Looks To Buy Crude, Gasoline In Rupiah Oil Price 26th Oct 2018
Higher oil prices, sliding local currency, and deteriorating government finances have led to Indonesia’s state oil firm Pertamina seeking to reduce expenses in U.S. dollars, and the company has issued tenders to buy spot crude oil, gasoline, and gasoil in its domestic currency the rupiah, or currencies other than the U.S. dollar, S&P Global Platts reported on Friday, citing tender documents it has seen

Indonesia's Pertamina aims to reduce spending in U.S. dollar Reuters 24th Oct 2018
Indonesia’s state-owned energy company Pertamina is looking to reduce spending of foreign exchange in U.S. dollars by seeking crude oil purchases in other currencies, a senior company official told Reuters on Wednesday.

China-backed hydro dam in Indonesia threatens world's rarest orangutan Channel News Asia 21st Oct 2018
JAKARTA: A billion-dollar hydroelectric dam development in Indonesia that threatens the habitat of the world's rarest great ape has sparked fresh concerns about the impact of China's globe-spanning infrastructure drive.

Green Climate Fund approves $100m Indonesia Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation Project Think GeoEnergy 21st Oct 2018
The 21st meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board ended today in Bahrain, approving over one billion dollars of new projects and programmes to support climate action in developing countries, and formally launching the Fund’s first replenishment, so the official statement by the fund.

Schneider Electric donates 1,000 portable solar lamps to PMI for Palu Jakarta Post 17th Oct 2018
Global energy management company Schneider Electric has distributed 1,000 portable light-emitting diode (LED) lamps that uses solar energy to disaster-affected areas in Central Sulawesi, it has said in a statement received on Tuesday.

International financial agencies confirm their support of geothermal development in Indonesia Think GeoEnergy 16th Oct 2018
The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other international financial agencies have confirmed their support for geothermal development in Indonesia.

Indonesia expects to add 95 MW of additional geothermal capacity this year Think GeoEnergy 16th Oct 2018
Indonesia expects to see a geothermal power generation capacity increase of 95 MW by the end of 2018, with the addition of the 55 MW Lumut Balai Unit 1 by Pertamina Geothermal Energy and the 40 MW Sorik Marapi geothermal power plant.

Wind, Sun to Strand $60 Billion of Coal Assets in Southeast Asia Bloomberg.com 29th Oct 2018
As much as $60 billion of coal power assets may be stranded in the next decade across Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, according to a new study by Carbon Tracker, which cited tighter environmental policies and competition from cheaper renewable energy. That analysis is aimed to caution those contemplating new coal plants. The findings underscore how quickly advances in renewable energy are changing the power landscape. New wind and solar plants may become cheaper than coal in those countries, which are planning a combined $120 billion in coal investments, by the end of next decade. The analysis is also part of a growing type of advocacy that, instead of focusing on the dire outcomes of climate change, targets investors and financial institutions by forecasting economic risks.

Financial Services

MAS, Bank Indonesia set up US$10 billion bilateral financial arrangement Channel NewsAsia 9th Nov 2018
The central banks of Singapore and Indonesia on Monday (Nov 5) signed agreements to set up a US$10 billion (S$13.8 billion) bilateral financial arrangement.  It will enable the two sides to access foreign currency liquidity from each other, if needed, to preserve monetary and financial stability, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Bank Indonesia in a joint media release.

Indonesia: Insurance regulator calls for new ideas to grow industry Asia Insurance Review 26th Oct 2018
The Indonesia insurance regulator has called on all sectors of the industry to come up with new ideas to help jump-start the development of the sector. Mr Riswinandi, executive head of Non-Bank Financial Institutions Supervision at OJK or the Financial Services Authority, made a bold keynote address at the 24th Indonesia Rendezvous in Bali yesterday in which he said, “The OJK is very open to all new ideas from stakeholders.”

Alipay, WeChat pursuing partnership path to enter Indonesian market: BI The Jakarta Post 24th Oct 2018
Bank Indonesia has said that two digital payment platforms from China, WeChat Pay and Alipay, have started down the path toward operating locally, eyeing transactions from the growing number of Chinese tourists to Indonesia.

Indonesia Among World's Most Underinsured Countries Jakarta Globe 23rd Oct 2018
Indonesia has a $14.6 billion gap between existing insurance coverage and the actual amount it would cost the government and businesses to rebuild and recover from major disasters, according to the latest report by global insurance firm Lloyd's and the Center for Economics and Business Research.

OJK's fintech sandbox Lexology 22nd Oct 2018
Until very recently, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) only regulated peer-to-peer fintech lending platforms (P2P firms). A recently issued OJK regulation (POJK 13/2018) increases its regulatory mandate over fintech firms in a bid to prevent financial sector stability, promote consumer protection, and improve non-competitive practices. POJK13/2018 is effective as of 16 September 2018.

President rebukes minister, state insurer over health insurance deficit The Jakarta Post 17th Oct 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reprimanded Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek and Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) president director Fahmi Idris on Wednesday for the ongoing deficit in the state health insurance (JKN).

Food & Agriculture

BPOM officially labels condensed milk a dairy product but disclaimer required The Jakarta Post 26th Oct 2018
The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) officially issued on Friday a regulation on processed food labels that includes a point that suggests susu kental manis (sweetened condensed milk) is a dairy product.

Minister says 188,000 ha distributed in land reform program The Jakarta Post 26th Oct 2018
The Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister has announced that the government's agrarian reform program distributed 188,000 hectares of land to the people over four years.

Agriculture Ministry says its data on rice production valid The Jakarta Post 25th Oct 2018
The Agriculture Ministry has said that its data on rice production is valid despite it being different than the data issued by Statistics Indonesia (BPS).

BPS announces new rice data with 2.85m ton surplus The Jakarta Post 24th Oct 2018
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Wednesday a new projection on rice production, which was based on new methodology jointly developed by several institutions in trying to provide more accurate rice data in the country.

Aquaculture expected to supply 60 percent of fish consumption in 2019 The Jakarta Post 17th Oct 2018
The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has said aquaculture is expected to supply 8.76 million tons of fish to the domestic market in 2019, or 60 percent of the country’s fish consumption.

Health & Life Sciences

Indonesia to lead global fight against pandemic zoonoses The Jakatar Post 7th Nov 2018
With the emergence of many diseases amid climate change around the globe, Indonesia has taken initiative to lead other countries in preventing pandemic zoonoses through the zoonotic disease action package (ZDAP) scheme.

Economist criticizes government's backtracking on cigarette excise The Jakatar Post 7th Nov 2018
University of Indonesia economist Faisal Basri has criticized the government’s decision to renege on a planned increase of the cigarette excise by around 10 percent next year, saying the health cost triggered by smoking was far higher than the revenue collected from the tax.

Less than 1,000 psychiatrists for 260 million Indonesians The Jakatar Post 6th Nov 2018
For its size, Indonesia has a severe shortage of mental health practitioners. The biggest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has a population of 260 million but only 773 psychiatrists and 451 clinical psychologists.

Indonesia prioritizes health in national development Antara News 6th Nov 2018
Health development in Indonesia is the most important pillar of national security, according to Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani.

Digital revolution making waves in Indonesia’s healthcare industry CGTN 6th Nov 2018
Although the development of technology has made it easier for patients to get a doctor's advice within minutes, the Indonesian government is still working on making virtual healthcare accessible to all in the country and making it as safe as possible.

Mixed reaction greets cancelled plan to hike cigarette tax The Jakatar Post 6th Nov 2018
The government has canceled its plan to increase the excise tax for tobacco and tobacco products in 2019 and has also postponed its plan to simplify the tax, which has met with mixed responses from industry and consumer groups.

Doctors association calls for medical audit on national health insurance The Jakarta Post 27th Oct 2018
The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) has recommended a medical audit as an option to solve a perpetual deficit in the national health insurance (JKN) that is expected to reach over Rp 10 trillion this year.  

Stigma, discrimination hamper leprosy eradication The Jakarta Post 20th Oct 2018
Stigma and discrimination continue to hinder people with leprosy from having a normal life, according to World Health Organization (WHO) goodwill ambassador for leprosy elimination Yohei Sasakawa.

FAO calls for urgent action to fight hunger, malnutrition in Indonesia The Jakatar Post 19th Oct 2018
In the State of Food Insecurity 2018 report published by the United Nations, Indonesia shows a high prevalence in all three forms of child malnutrition, which are stunting, wasting and obesity.

Pharma companies still dependent on imported APIs, says ministry The Jakarta Post 18th Oct 2018
The Health Ministry has said that local pharmaceutical companies still relied heavily on imported chemical ingredients – active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) – because the industry was unable to carry out sufficient research on developing such materials.

ICT

Indonesia to launch startup database as reference for digital industry development Yahoo! News 7th Nov 2018
Indonesia is enjoying a massive growth of its digital industry, as indicated by the increasing number of tech startups operating in the country. It even managed to have four unicorn startups already; the second biggest number in Southeast Asia after Singapore. To support President Joko Widodo’s Digital Energy of Asia vision, it is not sufficient for Indonesia to rely solely on initiatives by industry stakeholders. There is also an urgency to support the vision by providing a comprehensive startup database.

Jokowi wants more unicorns to emerge The Jakarta Post 28th Oct 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed hope over Indonesia producing more unicorns in addition to its four existing startups that are valued at over US$1 billion – Tokopedia, Go-Jek, Traveloka and Bukalapak.

Government to support e-sports tournaments Antara News 23rd Oct 2018
Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara has expressed readiness to support the e-Sports tournament, with more enthusiasts of the sports branch in the country. "I will offer support for this event to be held in many cities. This is a proof of the government`s support," Rudiantara stated at the closing of the Southeast Asia Cyber Arena (SEACA) at the Taman Anggrek Mall here on Monday.

Jokowi urges local govt to tech-up The Jakarta Post 22nd Oct 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the government had distributed up to Rp 400 trillion (US$26.4 billion) in infrastructure funds this year to help empower villages, but that impact would be minimal if local administrations did not improve their bureaucracy.

Bekasi residents queue before dawn for e-ID card tickets The Jakarta Post 18th Oct 2018
Dozens of local residents waited in line as early as 3 a.m. on Thursday at a Public Service Mall (MPP) located inside the Atrium Pondok Gede shopping mall in Bekasi, West Java, just to obtain a ticket number for processing their e-ID cards.

Chris Kanter appointed Indosat president director The Jakarta Post 18th Oct 2018
Chris Kanter has been appointed as Indosat Ooredoo's president director, part of the reshuffle of the company’s boards of directors and commissioners during the extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, according to a press statement received on Thursday.

Ministry prepares two draft regulations on ride-hailing apps The Jakarta Post 16th Oct 2018
The Transportation Ministry has prepared two draft regulations on ride-hailing apps after the previous regulations were annulled by the Supreme Court in September.

Data center competition heats up in Southeast Asia Nikkei Asian Review 19th Oct 2018
Indonesia is challenging Singapore's dominance in data center investment by attracting industry giants Google, Alibaba and Amazon, with the latter proposing to pour nearly $1 billion into the country. The U.S. internet giant Google said this month that Indonesia would become its newest Asian hub for cloud services. The plan, which means setting up a data center in the world's fourth most populous nation, will be taking form soon, said Google Asia Pacific Managing Director Rick Harshman, at a recent Google Cloud Summit in Jakarta. The company is making "long-term investments in the infrastructure," he added, without specifying the amount.

Infrastructure

 Government plans fare cut for Palembang LRT to attract passengers The Jakarta Post 29th Oct 2018
Transportation Minister Buki Karya Sumadi has said the government planes to cut the fare of light rail transit (LRT) in Palembang, South Sumatra in trying to attract more people to use the transportation mode, whose operation started when the city co-hosted the 2018 Asian Games.

Indonesia, JICA sign deal on loan for MRT Phase II project The Jakarta Post 25th Oct 2018
The Finance Ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a deal on a 70.21 billion yen (US$625.15 million) loan to finance the MRT Phase II project in Jakarta. rang in Banten. (bbn)

Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Lion Air crash Channel News Asia 7th Nov 2018
Boeing is planning to send a bulletin to 737 MAX jet operators as soon as Wednesday (Nov 7) advising them of the procedure for dealing with erroneous cockpit readings that could cause a dive, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters. The advice is based on preliminary information gathered in the investigation of a Lion Air flight that crashed in Indonesia last week killing all 189 on board, the person said.

Second Sulawesi wind farm project near completion The Jakarta Post 7th Nov 2018
Following President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo's inauguration of the 100-hectare Sidrap Wind Farm in Sindereng Rappang regency, South Sulawesi, a second wind farm in the province's Jeneponto regency is 97 percent complete.

Don't use Village Fund to develop infrastructure: Jokowi The Jakarta Post 5th Nov 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on village heads not to use the Village Fund, which will soon be disbursed by the government, to construct village infrastructure, but rather to develop village economies and to encourage innovation to improve people’s welfare.

Hyflux seeks ‘super priority’ for rescue financing from Indonesian investors Channel News Asia 2nd Nov 2018
Beleaguered water treatment firm Hyflux on Friday (Nov 2) said it has made a court application to seek "super priority" status for rescue financing from its Indonesian investors. Seen as one of Singapore’s most successful business stories, the water treatment firm made the unexpected move on May 22 to apply for a court-supervised process to reorganise its business and liabilities, citing "prolonged weakness" in the local power market for its cash woes. The company was also on the lookout for buyers for its Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Plant, which analysts said was key to trimming Hyflux's "humongous" debt load.

Indonesia's transport ministry orders removal of Lion Air technical director after deadly crash Channel News Asia 31st Oct 2018
Lion Air has removed its technical director Muhammad Asif following an order from Indonesia's transport ministry in the wake of a deadly plane crash, the airline said on Wednesday (Oct 31). All 189 people on board flight JT610 are believed to have died after the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Monday.

Trans-Java toll road to connect Merak in Banten to Surabaya The Jakarta Post 24th Oct 2018
Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono has expressed confidence that the trans-Java toll road will connect Merak Port in Banten to Surabaya in East Java by year-end as a number of the toll road sectors will soon be operational.

INDONESIA TO REVIEW CHINA’S BELT AND ROAD PROJECTS IF PRABOWO BEATS WIDODO IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION South China Morning Post 22nd Oct 2018
Infrastructure projects Indonesia signed up to as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative are likely to be reviewed if former general Prabowo Subianto wins next year’s presidential election, his brother and campaign leader has said.

Hyflux to get S$530m lifeline from Indonesia's Salim, Medco groups Channel News Asia 18th Oct 2018
SINGAPORE: Embattled water treatment firm Hyflux, which is in the midst of a court-supervised reorganisation, is set to receive a S$530 million investment from a consortium comprising Indonesia's Salim Group and Medco Group, in a move that gives it a lifeline for its struggling business. The consortium, SM Investments, will own 60 per cent of equity in Hyflux when the deal is completed, Hyflux announced on Thursday (Oct 18).

Manufacturing

BI sees slowdown in manufacturing expansion in Q4 The Jakarta Post 29th Oct 2018
Bank Indonesia (BI) says expansion of the manufacturing sector has started to slow down after obtaining high growth in the third quarter.

While waiting for production certificate, N219 plane gets 120 orders The Jakarta Post 16th Oct 2018
State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) is now waiting for the issuance of a production certificate for its 19-seater transport aircraft N 219, but the company has already got 120 orders for the plane.

Travel & Tourism

AirAsia launches first Lake Toba flight The Jakarta Post 29th Oct 2018
There was no need for a water cannon salute welcoming ceremony for AirAsia’s first flight to Silangit near Lake Toba, North Sumatra, as it had a natural shower from above.

Garuda introduces new business class The Jakarta Post 26th Oct 2018
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia introduced a new flight class product called “Explore Business Class” on its Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft on Thursday.

WTM 2018: South-east Asia bouncing back TTG 5th Nov 2018
Overall things are looking rosy for south-east Asia – the World Travel & Tourism Council forecasts the region to rank third for growth in 2018