Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has responded to criticism raised by People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan on the government’s debt, saying that a recent Rp 396 trillion (US$27.15 billion) payment was to cover 44 percent of a debt incurred before President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office.
“The recent debt payment was an obligation that should have been fulfilled in the pass. Why is it being disputed now?” Sri Mulyani wrote on her Facebook account in response to a criticism made by Zulkifli in his speech before President Jokowi on Friday.
She stressed that the debt had been made when Zulkifli was a member of former president Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s cabinet
She added that in 2009, the government’s annual debt payment reached Rp 117.1 trillion, while the state budget’s health allocation was at Rp 25.6 trillion. This year, with a debt payment of Rp 396 trillion, the government allocated Rp 107.4 trillion for the health budget.
“This means that the ratio between the debt payment and health allocation had declined 19.4 percent in nine years,” she said, assuring that the government managed the debt prudently and accountably.
She explained that the state budget deficit was always maintained below 3 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP); 2.59 percent in 2015, 2.49 percent in 2016, 2.51 percent in 2017, and a projected 2.12 percent in 2018.
“It undeniably proves that the government is careful, and it manages financial risks professionally and credibly. Because what’s at stake here is our economy and welfare, and the safety of the people,” she said.
Sri Mulyani also underlined that the government had decreased its primary deficit from Rp 142.5 trillion in 2015 to Rp 129.3 trillion in 2017. (bbn)
The Jakarta Post