Prioritise locally made goods, says President Widodo

(CNA) – Indonesia should prioritise locally produced goods over imports in order to boost the domestic economy, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday (Nov 6).

Speaking at a National Public Procurement Agency (LKPP) event, Mr Widodo said gardening tools such as hoes, for example, could be produced locally by small and medium enterprises, yet these were being imported in the hundreds of thousands.

“How has importing become our hobby?” said the president, as reported by the Jakarta Globe.

“We even use government money (to buy these hoes). That’s unacceptable,” he said to the thousands of officials that had gathered for the annual meeting.

“We’re a huge country, with a growing manufacturing industry. Do we really need to import these hoes? This is just one item, there are thousands of other goods we’re still importing as well,” he added.

Indonesia’s economic growth slipped to its weakest in more than two years, according to data released on Tuesday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 5.02 per cent in the three months ended September from the previous year’s quarter, the weakest pace since the second quarter of 2017, the statistics bureau reported.

Indonesia, which is Southeast Asia’s largest economy, relies more on domestic demand, but its growth has also been hurt by slowing global trade as the US-China tariff dispute shattered its exports. That in turn has dented consumer sentiment and overall domestic consumption.

Mr Widodo, who won a re-election in April promising more investment opportunities, is under pressure to avoid a sharp downturn.

However, his capacity to spend is limited as government income has been hit by weak corporate earnings and the broader slowdown.