News / Asia

Indonesia's New President Discusses Budget With Predecessor

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, greets President-elect Joko Widodo during their meeting in Bali, Aug. 27, 2014.
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, greets President-elect Joko Widodo during their meeting in Bali, Aug. 27, 2014.
Reuters

Indonesia's president-elect Joko Widodo discussed the national budget with the outgoing leader in Bali late on Wednesday, indicating the two administrations will cooperate in tackling massive fuel subsidies before the handover of power in October.

The former OPEC member is struggling to contain ballooning fuel subsidy costs, which have widened the current account deficit and left little room in the budget for Widodo's much needed reforms.

Raising fuel prices is a sensitive issue that could potentially unleash mass protests against the Widodo's government within weeks of him taking office.

Any hike in fuel prices is likely to hit hardest the nearly 40 percent of Indonesians who live under or near the poverty line and, according to Widodo's advisers, will be accompanied by a compensation package for the poor.

Earlier on Wednesday, Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina halted a week-old program aimed at curtailing the use of subsidized fuel, after its implementation led to panic buying and long queues at petrol stations.

“I asked for [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's] thoughts and views about the 2015 budget ... but details will be discussed later by the transition team and current ministers,” Widodo said in a statement following a two-hour, closed-door meeting on the resort island.

Yudhoyono said he was “morally obliged to help the next government and the president-elect”, adding the meeting was the first of more to come.

Neither Yudhoyono nor Widodo went into further detail.

Widodo and his transition office hope to reach a deal with Yudhoyono's government on tackling fuel subsidies before the new administration takes office.

Any decision on fuel subsidies before Widodo's inauguration on Oct. 20 is not expected to come into effect until November.

Fuel subsidies cost the government around $20 billion a year, or nearly 20 percent of its total budget.

Pertamina, the country's main retailer of subsidized fuel, cut the amount of subsidized diesel and gasoline available at fuel stations starting on Aug. 18 to ensure that it did not surpass its fuel quota for the year.

But the measure backfired as drivers did not use more alternative fuels, and instead queued for hours at petrol stations waiting for the limited subsidized gasoline and diesel.

Chief Economics Minister Chairul Tanjung instructed Pertamina on Tuesday to halt its program.

“There will be no more limits. If Pertamina is over the quota later, we will not be blamed,” Hanung Budya, director of marketing and trading for the state oil company, told reporters.

Pertamina said it expected to hit its fuel subsidy quota for diesel around Dec. 5 and gasoline two weeks later.

Suhartoko said the government will likely face an additional eight trillion rupiah ($685 million) in fuel subsidy costs to cover the extra supply this year.

Indonesian fuel prices are some of the cheapest in the region, currently priced at 6,500 rupiah ($0.56) a liter for gasoline and 5,500 rupiah for diesel.   (1 US dollar = 11,680 Indonesian rupiah)  

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid