Jokowi says Indonesia to turn pandemic into opportunity to 'catch up'

Kyodo News

Posted at Aug 14 2020 11:46 PM

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Friday called for his nation to turn the coronavirus pandemic into an opportunity to "catch up" with developed countries by making a big leap in various sectors.

"The setbacks experienced by several developed countries can serve as a momentum (for Indonesia) to catch up," Jokowi said in his annual state of the nation address delivered in parliament before a limited number of attendees.

Indonesia's gross domestic product fell by 5.32 percent in the April-June period from a year earlier, marking the largest decline since in the first quarter of 1999 following the Asian financial crisis, despite having grown by 2.97 percent in the first quarter of this year.

But Jokowi noted that GDP growth in some developed countries plunged even further due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, "even reaching more than minus 10 to minus 17 percent."

Making an analogy, Jokowi likened economic stagnation faced by countries across the world to a computer crash.

"All countries must undergo a brief process of shutdown, restart, and reboot. And all countries have the opportunity to reset all the systems," he told the nation.

"This is the time for us to fundamentally renew ourselves, to make a major transformation, to implement grand strategies in the fields of economy, law, governance, social, culture, health and education," he added.

Jokowi said the crisis has forced Indonesians to change their way of working "from standard ways to outstanding ways, from ordinary ways to extraordinary ways, from a long and complicated procedure to a smart shortcut, from being procedure-oriented to being result-oriented."

The World Bank has projected Indonesia's economy to remain flat this year, while the International Monetary Fund said it would contract by 0.3 percent.

As of Thursday, Indonesia recorded 132,816 coronavirus cases with 5,968 fatalities.