After being awarded Best Minister just two months ago, Sri Mulyani Indrawati has bagged another award as Finance Minister of the Year by Hong Kong-based publication FinanceAsia for the second consecutive year.
FinanceAsia applauded Sri Mulyani’s “laser-like focus” on increasing tax revenue, which distinguished her from her counterparts across Asia. Her focus on increasing tax revenue was aimed at reducing dependency on commodity sales that often fluctuate depending on global prices.
To do so, Sri Mulyani targeted wealthy Indonesians to pay up their unpaid taxes. Under her orders, the Directorate General of Taxation intensified legal enforcement through the infamous gijzeling policy, where the government took tax avoiders hostage until they paid their taxes.
As a result, the country collected Rp 1.34 quadrillion (US$97.2 billion) in tax revenue in 2017. Despite missing the Rp 1.45 quadrillion target, tax revenue in 2017 was higher than in 2016. Additionally, the state budget deficit was 2.57 percent, lower than the projected 2.92 percent.
Furthermore, Indonesia hit a milestone as the country’s GDP in 2017 hit the $1 trillion mark for the first time while inflation and exchange rates remained stable.
Based on FinanceAsia’s study, Sri Mulyani beat counterparts such Singapore’s Heng Swee Keat, who ranked second; the Philippine’s Carlos Dominguez, ranked third; India’s Arun Jaitley in fourth place and China’s outgoing finance minister Xiao Je in fifth place.