Indonesia’s new economic package to focus on medicine, small business

Indonesia will announce an easing of restrictions on imported raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry and more credit opportunities for small export firms as part of a policy package to boost economic activity, officials said. (Reported by Reuters)

The changes are the latest in a series of measures rolled out by President Joko Widodo’s administration to attract much needed investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It grew 4.8 percent last year but that was still the slowest rise since the 2009 global crisis. Chief Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said the new package would consist of around five new policies involving some 18 government ministries. A government official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters the loosening of rules on imported raw materials used to produce medicine was among the measures set to be announced. “For the financial sector, there will be micro loans for export-oriented small and medium enterprises,” said the official who wished not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media before Tuesday’s announcement.

The administration will also announce a policy aimed at simplifying import and export procedures at Indonesia’s ports to cut the dwelling time for vessels. Since September, Widodo’s administration has announced 10 separate policy packages.Foreign businesses have welcomed the moves, saying they were a clear signal the government was trying to move in the right direction. But implementing the changes have been slow. The most recent policy package announced last month with great fanfare has yet to be implemented due to administrative issues. 

(Additional reporting by the Jakarta bureau; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)