REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, NEW YORK CITY - Indonesia successfully broke five economic myths, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono claimed at the opening speech of Indonesia Investment Day in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday, September 24. He spoke before the prominent US investors and entrepreneurs in the event with the theme 'Indonesia’s Rise as Asia’s New Economic Power House: Transformation, Opportunities and Partnership for All'.
The first myth, he said, was that the Indonesian economy is relatively unstable. The velocity of Indonesian economic growth is high that this year Indonesia may turn out to be the second highest growing economy in Asia after China.
"The reality is that it has the more consistent growth when compared with any OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) or BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) country," he said.
Myth number two is the story that Indonesia's economic growth centers flourish only in Jakarta. He explained that there were other large and middle-sized cities, such as Surabaya, Makassar and Medan that were outstripping Jakarta's growth rate.
The third myth, he continues, said that Indonesia's economy was not different from the export-driven growth model of the Asian Tiger economies. Exports play a much more modest role in the Indonesian economy than they do in the economies of such Asian Tigers as Malaysia and Thailand.
"As to myth number four, Indonesia's economy is mainly driven by resources," he mentioned. He said that the reality was that resources, like exports, were playing a diminishing role in inverse proportion to the growth of the role of investments and consumption as drivers of the Indonesian economy.
Indonesia will add value to its natural resources. Government has passed a law requiring that by 2014, all raw materials are to be processed in Indonesia before they are exported. Government believes that such step can promote sustainable growth, create new jobs, drive innovation. It will also bring about social stability and greater equity.
The last myth asserts that Indonesia's economic growth is the direct result of an expanding workforce. "The fact is that Indonesia's workforce is indeed huge but its productivity is also rising," he said.
SBY emphasized that Indonesia was unique. Democracy in Indonesia was noisy, he said. "It has to be… otherwise it would not be a real democracy. Despite the noise, decisions are made, problems are solved, and things do go forward," he said firmly.
Also, the traumatic experience in 1998, when Indonesia was hit by financial crisis, made Indonesia change to avoid the same troubles. Its experience also creates a new national ethos, which is ethos of survival, endurance, and success.
Meet US investors
On the second day of his visit to New York, SBY met American leaders of industry. Minister of Industry MS Hidayat said some US companies were scheduled to meet the President's entourage to discuss on investment in Indonesia.
The first meeting was with CEO of NYSE in Wall Street, New York. The one hour meeting was followed by the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Indonesian Government and US aerospace company, Boeing.
Then, the President met with 12 prominent US entrepreneurs on Executive Roundtable Breakfast. Minister Hidayat said President would talk on the steps to improve investment in Indonesia. SBY will be accompanied by Coordinating Minister of Economy Hatta Rajasa, Minister of Trade Gita Wirjawan, Minister of Industry MS HIdayat, and the Chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Chatib Basri.