Jakarta — An economist said President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) needs to consider a technocrat skilled in industrialization for a running mate in his bid for reelection in 2019. “Jokowi has to look for a running mate, who is skilled in industrialization and has strong support from political parties,” said Yopie Hidayat, former spokesman of the office of former vice Boediono.
The three qualities need to be considered to settle fundamental issues faced by the nation, Yopie said, adding, “otherwise our fundamental problem would never be settled.” He said one major challenge faced by Jokowi if he is reelected in 2019 is to prevent rupiah from losing more value.
He said the source of problem over shrinking value of rupiah is current account deficit, which is a result of larger outflow of U.S. dollar to finance imports, etc. than dollar inflow in export earning.
“This is the cause of rupiah continuing to weaken against the dollar and this is the most fundamental economic problem that have to be top in priority for the President,” he said. Failure to cope with the rupiah weakening , Indonesia`s economy would continue to be vulnerable, he added.
“All development programs would be useless if the economic fundamental is weak as a result of current account deficit,” he said. He said in order to cope with the current account deficit coordination is necessary between all cabinet ministers especially economics ministers.
Export earning has to be much larger than the cost of imports if the country is to raise more dollar, he said. “The government has to boost exports of manufactured goods, which have higher value. Indonesia may not continue to depend on commodity exports, as commodities are low in value and the prices are very unstable,” he said.
He said he hoped that Jokowi would put industrialization the main theme of his government in the next five years to increase export earning.
“If now the theme is infrastructure development, in the next five years it should be industrialization. Apart from increasing export earning, success in industrialization would automatically bring about greater prosperity for the people,” he said.
Therefore, an ideal vice president for Jokowi in his next presidency is a technocrat that could back up the President in pushing for industrialization, he said.
In addition the vice president should master the strategy of coordination in improving the economic condition structurally, he said.
The candidate, however, must win strong political support as such support is crucial under political reality in Indonesia, he went on to say .
“Without political support from political parties, it is impossible for the vice president to fully function to perform his duty. Without support from political parties, the President and the Vice President would likely be forced to spend more time in political game than working for the economic welfare of the people,” he said.